Growing Impatiens as a Houseplant

boosiebutt(z5 IA)January 25, 2005

Hi, I'd like to grow impatiens as a houseplant, from what I've seen on this forum, it's possible. I have windows facing every direction but north and I have a humidifier keeping my condo at about 50%. I just looked at the Burpee directions for growing impatiens indoors, and it says that you should start the seeds in "early spring." Is it necessary to wait that long, if I can give good light? I'd like to start them now, if I can. Also, Mr Impatiens' website mentions "annual" and "perennial" types of impatiens. Is there a special perennial seed that I should look for? The kind that they sell in my local Walmart says Annual, but I thought that the difference between Annual and Perennial for impatiens was just keeping them away from frost...

Does anybody else keep impatiens indoors year round, not just overwinter?

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Peter60(Yorkshire UK)

I would say hold back a little and sow in stronger natural light and longer day length. Little will be gained by sowing now under lights, and may easily result in inferior plants.
Impatiens come in tropical to hardy - annual to perennial and sub-shrubs.
A striking perennial one to look out for is the 'Congo Cockatoo' Impatiens niamniamensis.
A garden bedding type is the 'Novette Series' which are fast growing perennials usually grown as annuals. There are many other series, varieties and cultivars grown annually from seed for summer use outdoors and most may be pot grown in cool conditions with maximum light.
Another spectacular species with silvery foliage and purplish-red flowers is 'Marianiae' It is tropical and will require a temperature into the 70sF.
There are countless cultivars within the group "New Guinea Hybrids" All should be good for indoor cultivation given a light spot but not in direct sunlight. They are perennial but often treat as annuals to obtain fresh, vigorous plants each year.
Grow Impatiens in a rapid-draining medium and water copiously during the summer months. Never let the roots stand in water. If keeping over winter reduce watering to keep the soil just moist.
When propagating be it seed or cuttings keep the temperature even; a fluctuating temperature is not good particularly at this time.

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Peter

    Bookmark   January 29, 2005 at 12:43PM
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kdjoergensen

If you supplement with flourescent lights indoors in winter, they should do fine. Otherwise summer is best.

Indoors, I water much more sparingly than outdoors, but I still use a diluted fertilizer with every 2nd watering.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2005 at 8:54PM
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