It's a sad day, as we say goodbye to garden impatiens. If you have a shade garden, you've probably heard of or experienced the issues that Garden Impatiens are having in our area. Did you have a patch of impatiens that wilted and died no matter what you did? Powdery Mildew is most likely the culprit.
First, Powdery Mildew causes the leaves to yellow. Then the flowers drop, and soon there's nothing but sickly stems where your beautiful impatien was growing and blooming.
Powdery Mildew was first spotted in Minnesota in 2011, and has since been found in 32 states, including New York. It spreads through the soil, water, and it will even travel hundreds of miles through the air. Once your garden or plants are infected, there's no way to get rid of it. A similar downy mildew that effects Sunflowers remains in the soil 8-10 years after infection.
This is the first year that we completely removed garden impatiens from our roster.
It was hard to let go of a plant that brought so much color to shady areas! Last year we had a fraction of our usual numbers for those that were still able to grow them in the area. But after seeing how far the mildew has advanced, and how devastated gardens were by the infection, we realized it was time to try something new and say goodbye to regular impatiens.
The good news is, there are replacements available.
New Guinea Impatiens are the closest match. They have a similar height and growth habit, with a good selection of colors. They prefer some sun, but will tolerate full shade fairly well.
The best solution might be to select a mix of annuals for your shady garden beds. Visit the shade aisle in our greenhouse for a good selection. We have Torenia, a shade-loving plant that produces beautiful flowers, and attracts hummingbirds. Ajuga is a perennial ground cover for shade, with colorful foliage. Annual foliage plants like Coleus will provide color as well as some height. These are just a few examples. Ask one of our helpers in the greenhouse and we'll assist you in finding the right plants for your garden!