How to Correct Improper Fertilization for Impatiens

kingpage(z9 CA)June 4, 2004

Hi, I'm new to this website and I came to find out why my impatiens are leggy this year. Last year, I planted them in the shade and they grew to a beautiful, full carpet in spite of our heat. They lived until late October or early Nov., then the frost got them. I recall that I put a granular fertilizer for blooming plants in each hole I dug for planting, then I don't think I fertilized after that (I planted in April). This year, I planted in late May and used a different fertilizer as well as adding mulch to the soil. I also planted some in another location, and in both places, they are getting leggy. If I overfertilized, how do I correct it? They seem to be getting new growth near the middle of the plant, so should I not pinch them back where they're leggy? Thanks. Barbara

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capnmgn_NC(Z7 NC)

Hello, everyone, I am new as well, although I've been following your advice for over a year! I have the same problem as kingpage; I "inadvertently" overfertilized some of my bedding impatiens, and although I've learned my lesson (I hope!), I wonder if there's anything I can do to salvage the damaged, burned ones?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2004 at 10:34AM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Leggy growth from the wrong fertiliser is easy to correct. You can either let your healthy but leggy plants trail and sprawl, or you can cut them back.

Burned plants may or may not survive and there isn't a lot you can do about it. Immediately after overfertilising, it can help to flush heavily with fresh water, but just do it once and then water the plant normally until it recovers fully.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2004 at 5:51PM
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capnmgn_NC(Z7 NC)

Thanks for the help, Shrubs n Bulbs! It does appear that two of the larger impatiens didn't make it, but I did flush heavily & several appear to have recovered. I thought, perhaps, that flushing was my only recourse, but having done that now, I hope I've learned my lesson. Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2004 at 10:09AM
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If impatiens are fed high levels of nitrogen, planted too close, or given excessive moisture they grow very tall.

If you space them adequately (10-12" apart), letting soil go through wet/dry cycles, and fertilize moderately then you will get flowers.

You can either use a slow release fertilizer (like 14-14-14 OSMOCOTE) once per season, or use a diluted fertilizer mix on regular basis, such as 1/4 tsp 15-30-15 once every two weeks.

What you should avoid is very high levels of fertilizer. E.g. use the "seedling" recommendation on the fertilizer pack if you fertilize regularily.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2004 at 12:20AM
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ironimaginings(north east USA)

I want to grow impatiens in plant pouches and was wondering what to use for soil and if the fertilizing requitements would be the same as if they were planted in the ground.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2004 at 1:30PM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

You can use a standard potting soil for Impatiens in containers, baskets, and pounches. These soils often include fertiliser and you won't have to use more, at least for several months. If you do add a liquid feed then dilute it to half the recommended strength.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2004 at 5:25PM
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