It is always an exciting time when the summer bedding plants start to arrive on the garden centre and one of my particular favourites are the New Guinea Impatiens (Busy Lizzie). Not to be confused with the lower-growing Impatiens Wallerana which is an excellent summer bedding plant for borders and containers, the New Guinea hybrids can be used indoors as well as in summer planting schemes. They are bold and colourful with striking foliage as well as having much larger blooms than the Wallerana varieties.
There is a wide range of flower colours to choose from and some with bi-colour petals which are particularly attractive. The varieties with darker foliage are very stunning in my opinion but it all boils down to personal taste in the end.
Impatiens are thirsty creatures so aim to keep the compost moist. If a plant starts to flag on a hot day it will quickly revive if placed in a tray of water, providing it hasn’t been left for too long. Although these plants will withstand sunshine, in their indoor environment they will need to be protected from strong direct summer sun through glass.
Remember to feed Busy Lizzies regularly, a high potash feed will promote the production of flowers. They will also bloom more readily if kept root-bound to a certain extent.
Dead-head your plants regularly pinching off the little seed head with the flower itself. If the seed heads are left to develop on the plant, it will stop producing flowers. Effectively what we are doing when dead-heading is tricking the plant into thinking it hasn’t fulfilled its role in reproducing itself with seed so it keeps producing more flowers.
The New Guinea hybrids make very nice subjects for troughs and tubs in the summer garden as well. All in all a very versatile little plant.