Sunpatiens is the answer to all those who love impatiens and wish to see them bask in the sun!
Summary of key sunpatiens facts
Name – Sunpatiens ®
Family – Balsaminaceae
Type – perennial indoors, annual outdoors
Height – about 16 inches (40 cm)
Exposure – sun and part sun
Soil – ordinary
Flowering – May to September-October.
You’ll be able to decorate your beds, garden boxes and pots in the sun for many long months.
Planting and propagating sunpatiens ®
How to plant Sunpatiens from containers
The planting of Sunpatiens ® flowers purchased in nursery pots is performed in spring.
- Favor sun or part sun.
- The ground must drain well and have a lot of humus.
- Plant several specimens together, spaced about 16 inches (40 cm) from the next to create a nice cover.
Then, mix your earth with flower plant soil mix and water often in summer to make the flower-bearing abundant.
Preparing cuttings from your sunpatiens ® plants
You can also prepare cuttings from your favorite sunpatiens ® plants if you want to keep the exact same properties. With cuttings, take care to ensure constant moisture or the blooming of your Sunpatiens may be delayed or it might not bloom at all.
However, overwatering your cuttings will lead to elongated stems with less flowers. The best time to water is when the medium has dried up slightly, just enough to make the leaves sag or wilt a little bit. This shows that the Sunpatiens is focusing its energy on root development which is important.
Lastly, you can let a few flowers turn to seed and collect them for sowing in the following spring.
How to grow Sunpatiens ® from seeds
Sunpatiens ® seeds need light to germinate. Place them atop the soil mix without covering them up.
You can either sprinkle the seeds directly on the growing bed where they’ll sprout and grow, or start them as indoor seedlings 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last frost date in your area.
At that stage they’ll have grown enough to be transplanted without risk of dying off.
Caring for and pruning sunpatiens ®
Care for sunpatiens ® is child’s play and no pruning is required.
- Water regularly in case of heat waves.
- Adding flower plant fertilizer will enhance the blooming but you’ll still have flowers if you don’t fertilize.
In pots or garden boxes, you can amplify the aesthetic appeal and stimulate budding of new flowers if you remove wilted flowers regularly.
Sunpatiens ® winter care
- But you can try growing sunpatiens ® in pots to bring it inside your home during the coldest months.
- If the lowest temperatures in your area are just around freezing, try winterizing your sunpatiens ® in the hope of protecting them.
Uprooting your sunpatiens ® from the growing bed to containers is also possible.
- Dig the plant out carefully with as many roots as you can.
- Transfer to a pot with conventional soil mix.
- Trim the stems back by about one third (leaving two-thirds on the plant).
- Set the sunpatiens ® indoors near a window that provides a lot of sun.
When you grow the plants in pots, reduce the watering to only once a month during the winter dormant phase, as you would most house plants. If ever you’ve been giving your sunpatiens ® too much water, you might trigger root rot, so water only when the surface of the soil is dry.
Don’t add any fertilizer over the winter.
Diseases and enemies of sunpatiens ®
If holes appear on the leaves of your sunpatiens ®, be on the lookout for slugs because they love this type of plant and you must act fast. Shown here is the pumpkin beetle, which is quite harmless for sunpatiens.
Unlike common Impatiens, Sunpatiens ® lineage was selected and bred to resist downy mildew.
Sunpatiens ® rotting at the leaves or stems
Allthough it was bred from Impatiens varieties that were resistant to most types of diseases, the Sunpatiens ® plant may get infected by certain root rot fungus when growing conditions aren’t ideal.
Fungus such as Pythium and Rhizoctonia may develop on the sunpatiens due to poor drainage, contaminated soil, and wounds to the roots. To ensure this doesn’t happen, try the following:
- handle the sunpatiens carefully when planting, especially when disentangling the roots.
- increase drainage in the soil with sand and organic material.
- planting in flower beds enriched with green manure has been correlated to higher Rhizoctonia resistance.
- when planting in pots, use fresh, new soil mix for your Sunpatiens ®.
If ever the disease has already appeared, you can still control it:
- remove and destroy specimens with the worst symptoms.
- amend the soil to increase drainage (sand + organic matter)
- spray natural organic fungicides such as garlic decoctions or fermented horsetail tea, both excellent fungus repellents.
Read more on the topic of how to deal with rotting sunpatiens plants.
Learn more about sunpatiens ®
Being very ornamental thanks to its bursting colors, this perennial or annual blooms remarkably in flower beds and garden boxes.
- Care is elementary and growth is quick.
- Resistance to warm weather is what makes this flower stand out.
There are three major types of sun impatiens
- Sunpatiens ® ‘Compact‘ which grows up to 2½ feet (75 cm) tall
- Sunpatiens ® ‘Spreading‘ which reaches heights of up to 3 feet (90 cm)
- Sunpatiens ® ‘Vigorous‘ which makes it over 3½ feet (105 cm) high
This Impatiens hybrid was bred from ‘New Guinea’ Impatiens, which itself was already an improvement over common Impatiens as regards heat resistance.
Indeed, traditional Impatiens varieties would only thrive in the shade but wither away when temperatures increased. Thanks to a dense, fast-growing root system, Sunpatiens ® is able to resist high temperatures. However, sunpatiens ® isn’t drought-resistant so it must be watered regularly.
Why the “®”? Sunpatiens ® was developed by the Sakata Seed Corporation, which reserved the trademark on the name for merchandising.
This Japan-based company worked with Indonesian growers to breed the plant, and they’re constantly adding new colors such as fire red, tropical rose, neon pink, magenta and more colors from the orange to purple range.
Smart tip about Sunpatiens ®
During the blooming, feel free to water your sunpatiens ® regularly but not too much to keep just the right moisture level.
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden under © CC BY 2.0 unless otherwise noted (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Sunpatiens ‘Shell pink’ shared by F. D. Richards under © CC BY-SA 2.0
Potted ‘Compact White’ Sunpatiens shared by Serres Fortier
Beetle on orange sunpatiens shared by coniferconifer