Impatiens Blooming Impatiently Indoors

Look what’s growing in our kitchen window. The double, rosebud impatiens that grew in our outdoor containers this summer were too nice to let freeze. They were growing in a filtered light location of shade mixed with a little sunshine and were covered in blossoms all summer. When cool fall weather arrived I decided to give them a home indoors on a sunny windowsill.

Impatiens are easily injured by chilly temperatures, so I moved them inside before night temperatures fell below 40 degrees in October. Last spring we had planted four double impatiens in each large outdoor container. When bringing plants indoors to grow during winter, I like to pot them individually. They don’t seem to grow as well if grouped together in larger containers. I think the large soil volume makes them stay too moist indoors.

I potted each impatiens into its own four-inch diameter clay pot. I used a potting mix purchased from Baker Garden and Gift in Fargo. It’s their custom blend, and is a high quality mix that drains well, while retaining just the right amount of moisture. I always have good luck with Miracle Gro potting mix for most of our plants, but the mix from Bakers is a little more porous and well-drained. Impatiens indoors appreciate a well-aerated soil mix, because they easily develop root rot if kept continually soggy.

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During potting, I cut each plant back by at least half its height. This compensates for root loss and minimizes transplant shock, while stimulating bushy new growth from the plant’s base.

After potting, I applied systemic insecticide granules to the soil and then watered the plants thoroughly. The systemic is taken up by the plants, giving them the inner ability to fight pests. Impatiens are very susceptible to attacks by spider mites and aphids. By the time injury symptoms are apparent, it’s often too late to reverse the damage. Neem oil and insecticidal soap sprayed at regular intervals are safe, natural methods of combating indoor plant insects.

Although impatiens prefer shade or partial shade during summer, they need sunshine indoors during winters’ short days with weak, low-horizon sun. The plants branched nicely after being cut back, and after six weeks indoors they’re blooming their little hearts out.

Until next time, “Happy Growing!”