help--impatiens wilting

eks6426(5b)May 17, 2004


I'm having the strangest problem with my single impatiens this year. I planted several window boxes with them. The window boxes are on the north & east sides of my house and then some are inside a screened in porch. There is annual salvia and impatiens in each box. Now, my impatiens are wilting. They seem fine one day and then the next day they are laying down. The box in the porch started with one laying down and now they all are. The salvias are fine. Help! What should I do? I could rip out all the impatiens and replant but will the wilt come back?

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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Probably rotting off at the base of the stem. An otherwise healthy-looking plant will keel over and obviously wilts pretty fast. I've been having terrible problems with New Guineas doing it this year. Try to keep the surface of the soil dry, don't overwater. You could also try removing the surface layer of soil and replacing with fresh stuff, or laying down a gravel mulch.

Wilting can also be caused by underwatering, too much sun, mites, or aphids. If you have an insect problem the plant can continue to wilt despite watering and eventually you end up overwatering and killing the whole thing.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2004 at 8:10AM
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Shrubs n bulbs, You described exactly my problem. The rot was at the base of the stem. I pulled all of them out and will try again with fresh soil. I can't see any mites or aphids and I'm pretty sure too much sun is not the problem. These are regular impatiens (not New Guineas). Do you think the wilt is contageous to my other impatiens?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2004 at 9:42AM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

The fungus that causes this rotting is present everywhere, but obviously letting it grow on a plant could cause more spores to be around. You can actually save plants like this by snipping them off a little above the rooted part and rooting them as cuttings, but this is a lot more trouble than just buying more trays.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2004 at 9:03AM
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This fungal problem can really be a pain in containers. You need enough drainage holes so the plants are not sitting in waterlogged soil for lengthy periods. Do not use garden soil at all as it is heavy and already contains a high pathogen load - use fresh soiless potting mix. Always start with a clean container and add a liquid fertilizer to your water unless it's already added to potting mix. Coninuous heavy shade will also increase the tendency toward this problem as it slows drying time. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2004 at 9:44AM
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