New Guinea Impatiens just won't survive!

Prospero8888(Singapore)November 17, 2003

Ah, a new forum, great! I am at my wit's end with these things. I keep buying them and they keep dying on me, but I can't resist them (New Guinea Impatiens that is).

I first tried them in the shade of some palms in the garden, but they croaked. Then I thought they might prefer to be in the house, just beside a window and a door. I am in the tropics and humidity is high, so I thought they would be all right as long as there is no direct sun. I take care not to overwater. Still they refuse to play ball.

I am contemplating giving up altogether on them. Of course I keep saying this each time I bid another one farewell, but when I see them at a garden centre my resolve crumbles.

Please can someone advise? At present I have 2 that are slowly drooping...


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sherri4me(los angeles)

hi: I have just two suggestions......... First, your soil must be well drained and second impatients luv to be fed on a regularly basis.......mine seem to be enjoying life since I have followed this suggestions.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2003 at 7:42PM
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MrImpatiens(Zone 9 CA)

Well I would never give up on them one of the joys is that they are so easy to get. I am wonder if you might be to hot and humid for them. Do they start to die in the heat?
In Florida they grow them in the winter because the summers are to hot and humid and they just die away. You live in the land of Impatiens there are about 200 or more native species in your neck of the woods. You may want to look into those as well some of the most beautiful species are in Asia. I would be more than happy to trade cuttings with you that is for sure. :)

    Bookmark   November 17, 2003 at 9:35PM
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At the time of writing I think those 2 are beyond redemption. I don't know if it is the heat and/or the humidity. Maybe they don't like my house! I really think maybe I should steer clear of the NGI but try the normal impatiens which might be less finicky.

I had no idea there are 200 impatiens native to Asia! Now you have spurred me to try and locate at least some of these. For inspiration, could you let me know some of their names?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2003 at 4:25AM
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momiji79(BKK Thailand)

hi guys, here in bangkok i have successfully grown impatients balsamica,wallerina n new guinea.

the wallerina one i grow in hanging basket in the shade under my mango tree...and they grow yr round. The balsamica will def grow in singapore - they are so super heat hardy. You scatter the seeds and they grow like anything. Mine are growing in full sun. The new guionea hybrids, like what derick said, here in bangkok they are sold during our cool season. however up north they grow yr round as the weather is cooler there. Currently my new guinea ones are grown in the soil with morning sun (during this season the sun is quite strong as there are no clouds to block it - we have no more rains) and they grow just leaves, However during the rainy season they flower. And yes, the soil cannot be heavy soggy clay. Should have some sand incorporated into it.

Would love to find out how you do....I am also interested in growing impateints...and if anyone else in the true tropics are growing impatients..would love to hear from you!!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2003 at 10:08AM
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MrImpatiens(Zone 9 CA)

Boy I cant name all of them but a few that are around there are impatiens mirabilis which is very big in the wild close to 10 feet it grows like a succulent. Impatiens oncidiodes from Thailand very pretty plant looks a lot like an oncidium orchid but may need cooler weather I not really sure on that. Impatiens arguta from China likes the heat of my garden in California pretty blueish flowers. An African that may take the heat is Impatiens niamniamensis this one some what common but still on the rare side. Impatiens balsamina of course is a vary good choice. There are so many more they are mostly in the high hills and mountains would make a fun hike I am sure. Best time I hear is soon after the rainy season.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2003 at 10:58PM
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Thanks momiji and Derick for giving me a few pointers. I don't want to give up on impatiens and will certainly give the others a whirl, provided I can find them. I think I will try the busy lizzies (walleriana) and balsamina first while keeping an eye out for the others you mentioned Derick. Only because I will at least recognise them when shopping around. I am down to 1 last NGI, those 2 that prompted me to start this post have gone to plant heaven, bless 'em.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2003 at 3:11AM
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And just to prove me right, or spite me, my last NGI has given up the ghost. Never again!

Now if only I can find the other types of impatiens....

    Bookmark   November 23, 2003 at 8:08PM
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Chaconnesque(Z12 Singapore)

Hi Prospero

I've seen New Guinea impatiens growing well in Singapore in private gardens under relatively cool, semi-shaded conditions and observed it there for more than a year. There did not appear to have much care given to the plant.

Did your NG impatiens show new leaves which are small and wrinkled, and refuse to bloom? If they did its probably cyclamen mite infestations. They are very common in plants bought from nurseries. My late NGI were murdered by these mites. I have stopped buying plants which are very susceptible to these pests.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2003 at 9:33AM
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Hi there, Chaconnesque, my trials and tribulations with NGIs seem so far away now that I have given up on them. As I recall, they seem to grow normal leaves and flower for a while before biting the dust. My feeling is that I could not find the right spot in the garden for them. But thanks for the tip about cyclamen mites, I will look out for them. I still think NGIs are stunning, just not meant for me perhaps.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2003 at 9:37PM
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CCChad(NSW Aust)

In my experience,New Guinea impatiens need 100 % shade.
They will thrive. But if you're like me and don't have any spots in the garden with 100 % shade, then next best thing is morning sun,and shade in afternoon. But they will need extra watering to prevent wilting.
Only feed them a couple of times in spring,and no more, otherwise they will mainly produce leafs and not many flowers.
They look stunning,with such big butterfly style flowers.
And each different flower colour plant,has a different colour stem.
I'm not allowed to goto the impatiens section of the garden centre,because I can't be trusted.I'd buy every colour availble. :)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2004 at 5:09AM
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george446(07 De)

well as for not likeing the heat and humidity,i live in zone 7 delaware and its humid as i dont know what.i grow these beautys all summer everysummer and the kiey ive found is a slow realease fert. and plenty of water. cant let them dry out alot

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 10:57AM
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george446(07 De)

i even planted them one year in full sun and they did wonderfully and thrived,but i was always watering them so yes some shade is needed

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 11:00AM
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Jagodzinski(3 and 4, MN)

I've had no problem with them. There are three things that are important:

1. Make sure that the weather has thoroughly warmed before you put them out.

2. New Guinea Impatiens WILL NOT do well in shade. I'm not sure why others are saying they will but they're wrong. The regular impatiens will tolerate very little sun but the New Guinea needs it. I raise them where they get about 4 hours per day of sunlight and they do well. I don't know if they'd like more sun or not but I do know that they don't like full shade.

2. Give them plenty of water. They can't stand in mud but the soil should be kept moist.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2004 at 9:55AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

Hi All,

Like Prospero, I had a collection of New Guinea Impatiens that I had put in hanging baskets on our mostly shaded deck die off catastrophically over a period of two or three weeks. We were living in the St. Louis area at the time. They were growing and blooming nicely, just like they were in the greenhouse where we bought them. I fed them occasionally with a little dilute Miracle-Gro for Tomatoes, which seemed to work fine for several months. I watered them with captured rainwater to avoid city chlorine/fluorine. They also got quite a bit of natural rainfall.

They went so fast from growing and blooming luxuriantly to wilting and dying suddenly that it seemed to me that they must have caught some virulent fatal virus. Other plants on the deck were unaffected, so I disposed of the dead and dying New Guinea Impatiens as if they were a bio-hazard to the rest of our plants. I disposed of the plants and the containers in which they were growing.

In retrospect, considering what others have said here about growing them in a well drained medium, the problem may have been the hanging basket growing containers. They were filled with the kind of sphagnum moss that is usually put in hanging baskets. That stuff is very water retentive -- the opposite of sand -- and it may have "drowned" their roots. Or maybe they did die of some sort of disease. Or could the urea content in the Miracle-Gro in a sterile growing medium have been the culprit? I recently heard that urea is inappropriate for soilless growing media and inappropriate for foliar feeding, although I find both things somewhat hard to believe.

Is perlite useable instead of sand to create a well-drained growing mix for New Guinea Impatiens?

-- Burton --

    Bookmark   March 8, 2004 at 5:05AM
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grenthum(z5 MI USA)

I grow New Guineas outside and have brought them in in the winter. My best suggestions are indirect sunlight outside. It is true they need good draining soil and much water. Her in Michigan, they must be watered daily in the hot summer. I bring those same plants inside for the winter and they flower inside under lights. They must be watered every other day or they just wilt. You know it is the water, when the new guiniea just plane falls over. Don't wait that long!!! Since you seem to be spending much money on buying more at the garden center, let me make a suggestion. I just learned they can be rooted. I was trimming mine inside and just for heck of it, I stuck the cuttings in water in a jar in the window. Nothing special. In less then a week, little roots starting growing, and voila! 5 new babies. I grow them from seed also, but this is even easier since they are a little tricky to grow from seed. I planted them at two weeks and they have just taken off. I know others here suggest a little more involved way to root them, but the simplest seems to work also. Maybe when you do get a couple of them growing well, you can try this. Just cut 2-3" for the outer section of the plant, just about a node. Stick it in water, you can add a little liqiud fertilizer if you like, and wait a week or so. This may save you some money. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2004 at 9:22AM
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CCChad(NSW Aust)

Jagodzinski sorry I have to disagree with you.New Guiena do best in bright shade. I only grow mine in shade,and they stay alive all year. I have 4 that are now 3 years old,in the ground. They never come inside.They stay in the ground all year round. They grow big and bushy,and with lots of flowers all year round,even in winter !
I know they can tolerate direct sun for at least 4 hours,but in summer they do not appreciate it. And I bet you have to water them more often,than if they were kept in shade. And beside, the tag with growing directions says full shade, or half filtered light. Why would the tag lie?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2004 at 4:26AM
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derfy(5 MI)

every one pretty much hit upon the problem, they can't take the heat. You'd thing new Guinea wold be hotter than here, but it's not as dry, Keep in the shade, well drained soil

    Bookmark   March 23, 2004 at 1:00PM
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jjappleby(nw ar)

I can't get New Guinea Impatience to live either. They don't grow much and then one day they are wilted and die.I don't have any trouble with others and had doubles last year and they did great. kept one in window and am starting new ones and they are growing. won't try NGI's again.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2004 at 9:55AM
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guanabanaboy(10b So. Cal.)

Attached link (you will need Acrobat) has information on growing NGI. Really targeted to commercial growers, but it does provide information on temps, water, fertilizer, growing medium, etc.

Hope this helps, Chris

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing New Guinea Impatiens

    Bookmark   April 1, 2004 at 11:07PM
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anav8r(z6 far east PA)

Mine are surviving and growing, but hardly bloom. They are in a pot with a drainage hole and the plants seem healthy, but all I am getting is leaves, with a flower once in a while. I have sprinkled a slow release fertilizer on the dirt.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2004 at 4:44PM
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i recently inherited a new guinea impatiens, purple flowers, from a neighbor (actually, housemate; we live in a 3 family house). she ]bought it, stated that since i had a 'ggreen thumb', i could take care of it. folks, i am an AMATEUR and truly know nothing about plants. i have been lucky, in that perhaps i do have a bit of a green thumb (tho it gives me chills tol say that), since i have had luck over the years in saving and/or keeping housplants alive through basic common sense and intuition.

however, this NGI is freaking out. she was left outside during our first mini heat wave here in fairfield county, ct, and at first seemeed to be enjoying the heat and sunlight. then i put her in a shaded (for about half the day) part of our porch. i finally brought her in abot 1 week ago. at first, it was strange....she bloomed all the suddden with each move, at least new buds....then after a day or two, all the buds fried as did some of the leaves. each time i moved her, she seemed to revive; right now she is in a portion of my sun porch, whereshe gets about 4 hrs orf filterede sunlight a day, acutally probably a bit jmore.

it is quite sad, as each day now she seems to be losing a cluster or a few of leaves; is there anything i can do to save her? it has been a helluva a hot and humid summer bere in lower CT/NYC. any suggestions are so welocmed

please email me at: if you wish!!! thanks!!!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 11:06PM
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corgicorner(Mass 6/7)

Could not "open" the link provided by guanabanaboy (above),
but my question is about the soil used, and possibly the insects present. Maybe they should return to their sources and do some inquiring about these possible sources of trouble. No retail establishment wants troubles like outlined above, and I should think that if the managers or owners were approached they would try their best to satisfy their customers. It certainly would not hurt. Try it.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 10:19PM
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I lived in South Dakota for 50 years. Then moved to Kansas for 4 years, and now live in Cancun. I have always grown the New Guinea Impatiens, in South Dakota even in full sun, although they took a lot of water. They grew to be huge shrubs, even with our short growing season, so I do know how to garden a bit.

I was so excited when I moved to Cancun in the Hotel Zone to grow these. They are beautiful plants in the nursery. I have now killed 3, even during the winter. I have tried full shade and 4 hours a day sun. I have even tried indoors since I thought it may be the salt air. The plants do not grow, and the leaves start turning brown and drying up almost immediately. I have not transplanted the last 2. They have good drainage. The last one I did not fertilize at all.

Any suggestions? This is my favorite flowering plant and I want to grow it.

By the way, I did find the correct link to the reference above. It was no help to me but may help others.

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing New Guinea Impatiens

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 8:25AM
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GOOGLE New Guinea Impatiens and get thousands of sites. Many of the sites will tell how to take care of them, ie. lots of water; tolerate direct sun, etc.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 2:55PM
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When brought our hanging plant (with 4 different color flowers) it was beautiful! Within 2 days it was miserable. After watering thoroghly, it revived significantly.

You said you were "careful not to overwater" - but I'm not sure that's possible. We call ours THE WATER HOG. After watering daily, it is back to its former glory and beyond.

It can't seem to go more than 2 full days without water before showing signs of distress. I believe the greenhouse waters there's every day with (at least) a shower if not a full soak, and being in a hanging basket, it is well-drained.

So we put it out on our patio table whenever it rains without storming, and if there's no raing for a day or two, I soad the soil real good, then give the leaves a mist or light shower.

One other thing I've noticed that when the flowers fall off, they tend to stick to the leaves and cause them to brown, so in addition to watering, I clean out any old foliage I can find.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 9:02PM
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AFter reading the various messages on New Guinea Impatients I don't feel quite as much of a failure as I seem to kill them instead of growing them. I put some I bought in a planter that gets full morning sun (big mistake) as they seem to like shade with filtered sunlight instead and lots and lots of water. Our summers in Virginia get very hot and humid and you would think they would thrive but they don't. I am about ready to give up on them and try the regulars which I know need shade.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 10:40AM
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I live on Long Island and have had NGI before, but this year I'm having trouble with the ones I have in 2 hanging wire baskets with store bought moss linings. The are hanging under my deck awning facing north and getting morning sun and filtered light the rest of the day. They were doing great for the first few weeks. I have used slow release fertilizer and water them everyday. All of a sudden the temperature increased (and today it is 95) and the leaves are drying out and no blooms at all. I fed them liquid fertilizer as well a few days ago hoping it will help. I'm going to assume it's the heat but if anyone has any other suggestions, I would appreciate the input. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 5:39PM
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I have always liked Impatiens and I went to a garden center this year and bought some Sonic Red and Magic Pink New Guinea Impatiens. I have never had these beautiful plants in my plant collection before. I have always had Park Seed Shady Lady Impatiens. I wanted to know how to care for them so I found this web site (GW) and it said they can live in full sun but their soil has to be moist at all times for them to bloom. Well I keep their soil moist and they love it but I put them out in full sun from 8am til 11am and they wilted. They are not full sun plants. They love filtered sun or complete shade. It shouldn't hurt to experiment with your plants. Mine seem to be ok after they wilted. Now they are in shade. If anybody has some tricks to getting these plants to bloom and look good please let me know!!! Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 11:48AM
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Hello everyone, I have 7 Impatiens in my small garden at the moment. They do well with half-sun (morning sun) and can be watered every other day. If they are with afternoon sun, they need to be watered every day in summer (after the sun sets). I am not sure about winter because I've only had them for 6 weeks.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 12:38AM
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I live in New Zealand and have fought a real battle to grow these plants. We are equvalent to US zone 9, temperate climate. They are susceptible to sudden collapse and root rot, as well as botrytis. They flower like mad if kept slightly pot bound and exposed to lots of direct morning sun. Be careful though as too pot bound impedes drainage and very quickly causes stem rot in these plants. The key seems to be lots of water but with excellent drainage and drier when it is cool. Fallen leaves and flowers causes botrytis almost overnight, so keep the plant clean. A systemic fungicide solved my problems with the Guinea Impatiens and the wilt or sudden collapse problems.
Our southern hemisphere midday+ sun is much to bright for them in summer, so they are kept partially shaded in afternoons. They won't flower in full shade, get leggy and eventually collapse. They love misty fine rain in our hot/dry summer and lots of water. I water mine with tepid-warm water like you do with African violets, so as not to shock the plant with sudden cold. Our winters can be rather cold and very wet, so I keep them indoors but fairly close to a window with sun/lots of light and reasonably dry, but never arid to the point where they wilt. I had two 3-year old plants in buckets which flowered beautifully and were fairy large, but they were hit by a rogue frost, albiet a light one and died virtually that day. Each colour of the Guinea Impatiens seems to have different hardiness. The purple colour is by far the strongest and easiest to grow in my opinion, while I find red and white more difficult. Pink is also easy to flower, big blooms but a much smaller plant. Odd eh. Even with failures, I keep buying these plants because they are just so lovely.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 2:05PM
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My NGI is living,but not blooming any more-I live in Stone Mountain GA 30083
what can I do, I'm afraid it will die.
thanks for any help you can give me-Mary

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 1:55PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

They do like to be warm. I can't get to grow in san francisco, because our summers are too cold. They will live for a short time only in my garden. They are good for green houses.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 9:07AM
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