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Does anyone have luck in total shade??

Posted by Ellen_inMo 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 21, 04 at 22:47

Boy am I hopeing for a miracle answer here! You know how the odds are that something will not produce unless you provide perfect conditions, but then there is that exception that has no explanation?!??!

I have already bought several hundred impatiens seeds for a project I had planned for next year (the Bruno series - took advantage of the BOGO sale from Park's). The location is 100% shade, until about 6 pm, then it is total sun until dusk. I had purchased the Brunos because they have some sun tolerance, and I have had good luck with them this year in a 75% full sun location. The future area is HUGE, like 640 square feet, and would need that many plants.

I am pretty much new to shade gardening in general(never had shade before we moved to this house), and have learned a lot this year about hostas, woodlands, and just recently, gardening in eastern facing beds. I have always assumed that impatiens grow in any shade that I never gave it a thought that they may require some light! I certainly never thought they required as much light as the experts here advise! I am really bumming out here and hopeing to get some miracle stories!

I have spent all evening on the impatiens forum, I havent seen anyone ask about conditions similiar to mine: full shade all day, late pm full sun. Will this work for me?

I can always use my Bruno seeds elsewhere, but I really had my heart set on this bed!

Your input is greatly appreciated!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Does anyone have luck in total shade??

I would say try it. You do get some sun in the bed and it should be enough to help. Bruno is a good choice it is soposed to be a tougher plant then the others. Leaves on these can be huge with lots of big flowers.

RE: Does anyone have luck in total shade??

Thank you Mr.Impatiens! I was hopeing to hear from you!

The Brunos this year have been a bit funny. The bed they are in is literally 1/2 sun 1/2 shade-as in the back half is all shade, front half is all sun, and this bed is only 3 feet deep!. At first, the best looking plants, and best flowers were in the back (in the shade). It took a really long time for the front flowers (in the sun) to really take off. I mean, there were weeks where the front plants seem to suffer dearly in the full sun, were barely growing, and the back half was as very lush and a good 6 inches taller than the sunny ones. Two months later, the shaded ones have stopped blooming and the sunny ones are just a solid bed of color. The sunny impatiens are extremely floriferous, and the shaded ones have stopped blooming. The shaded ones have also grown much taller and leggy compared to the front ones. I am certain there are other factors contributing to this, for one thing I have the plants way way too close together (I had done this on purpose as an experiment). I am sure another factor could be needing pinching; until I had read this forum I never realized impatiens needed pinching, they always were self cleaning in my experience, although I am sure pinching helps everything. Another factor could be from when I grew them as seedlings. Some of my Brunos got pinched, some of them didnt. The reason why is because I had noticed that other impatiens I had grown took a real real long time to branch out and flower after having been pinched as seedlings. So I did this experiement to analyze this. As a result, all of the Brunos (pinched or not) flowered at the same time! This surprised me, I had thought the unpinched ones would flower much much sooner.

Bruons have very large flowers, as do all impatiens I have grown. In fact, I have never grown the tiny flowered standards that you get at the nurseries, either that or I am doing something wrong, because all impatiens I have ever seeded ended up with large flowers. I am certain this is a variety issue.

Anyone else have experiences with Brunos? Do you have a better suggestion for this bed, as far as varieties?


I need to correct myself.

When I was talking about "pinching". I had said that I hadnt realized that impatiens needed "pinching" I actually meant "deadheading". I have never really noticed dead flowers that needed to be deadheaded. When I was referring to pinching, I meant exactly that--pinching the growing tips when they were growing on as seedlings.

Just wanted to eliminate that confusion, as I know many people get this term confused.

RE: Does anyone have luck in total shade??

Can you take some of the limbs of your trees away? A little like pruning, but judicious editing of branches will allow more light to filter into the space, thereby creating light, dappled shade rather than heavy,dark shade. Am I making myself clear? a good arborist or landscaper should be able to prune out some branches and help out the entire situation. Capish?

RE: Does anyone have luck in total shade??

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 29, 04 at 23:34

Impatiens balfourii is one that will do quite well in fairly deep shade, and summer sun after 6 pm shouldn't be an issue for most shade plants as long as they are not also drought stressed.

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