Sunpatiens, a touch-me-not for the sun


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 ®
Scientific nameImpatiens hawkeri hybrid
Family – Balsaminaceae

Type – perennial indoors, annual outdoors
Exposure – sun and part sun
Soil – ordinary but not soggy

Height – about 16 inches (40 cm)
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 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 mulch will retain water and slowly convert to humus over the season.
  • Plant several specimens together, spaced about 16 inches (40 cm) from the next to create a nice cover.

Space the plants according to what fits your landscaping best:

  • tighter clusters (about 1 foot or 30 cm apart) will lead them to grow taller and will form a uniform cover.
  • loose clusters (about 2 feet or 60 cm) will let plants spread into a nice, round mounds that are a bit shorter overall.

Then, mix your earth with flower plant soil mix and water often in summer to make the flower-bearing abundant.

Propagating Sunpatiens

It’s possible to propagate Sunpatiens from seeds and cuttings. Since it’s a variety protected by patents and trademarks, however, restrictions apply.

Caring for and pruning sunpatiens ®

Care for sunpatiens ® is child’s play and no pruning nor pinching 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.

Temperature range for Sunpatiens

  • Possible growing within the 32°F – 117°F (0°C to 47°C) range.
  • Thriving only within the 40°F – 95°F range, (5°C to 35°C), its comfort range.

Sunpatiens in the cold

The coldest temperature a Sunpatiens plant can survive is 32°F (0°C), and then only for a couple hours. This plant’s cells have lots of water and don’t have any coping against freezing. Cells burst when water inside them turns to ice. Even an hour at freezing temperature will result in damage to the plant.

  • Parts of the plant damaged by ice or frost will be replaced by new growth when temperatures rise.

Sunpatiens in full heat

Very hot weather, above 100°F (37°C), will almost certainly result in wilting at the hottest hours. This will even happen if you provide constant water through drip irrigation.

  • Irrigating or ensure proper moisture serves to help the plant survive in this heat.
  • Blooming is impaired and flowers wilt much faster.
  • As soon as temperatures go back to the comfort range, blooming will resume in full.

Impatiens naturally evolved as a shade plant. Although sunpatiens is derived from impatiens, it’s astounding to see this hybrid easily take on such full sun and hot temperatures!

Sunpatiens ® winter care

A Compact White sunpatiens growing in a potDon’t be surprised if your outdoor sunpatiens ® doesn’t come back from one year to the next because it fears the cold. It will survive winter only where the season is mild.

  • But you can try growing sunpatiens in pots to bring 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 watering to only once a fortnight or 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 ®

Electric orange sunpatiens flower visited by a harmless cucurbit leaf beetlePests on Sunpatiens

Although generally not so vulnerable to diseases and parasites, occasionally you’ll notice an invasion of red spider mites and aphids on your impatiens.

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.

If you notice leaves disappearing entirely, there might be a few caterpillars hiding below. Impatiens hawkeye moth is a caterpillar that favors plants of the Impatiens family. It is normally only active in SouthEast Asia, from India to the Philippines (including Australia and Indonesia).

Diseases that infect sunpatiens

Unlike common Impatiens, Sunpatiens ® lineage was selected and bred to resist downy mildew.

Sunpatiens ® rotting from the roots and stems

Allthough it comes from Impatiens varieties that were resistant to most types of diseases, the Sunpatiens ® plant may contract certain root rot fungus when growing conditions aren’t ideal.

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 simple 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‘ – grows up to 2½ feet (75 cm) tall
  • SunpatiensSpreading‘ – reaches heights of up to 3 feet (90 cm)
  • Sunpatiens ‘Vigorous‘ – makes it over 3½ feet (105 cm) high

Where does Sunpatiens come from?

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, it isn’t drought-resistant so regular watering is mandatory.

Why the “®”? Sunpatiens ® is a development of the Sakata Seed Corporation, which set the trademark name specifically for merchandising. This is the name most horticulture stores will sell the plant under, but the scientific name is Impatiens hawkeri hybrid.

This Japan-based company worked with Indonesian growers and the Indonesian Department of Agriculture to breed the plant. They’re constantly adding new colors such as fire red, tropical rose, neon pink, magenta and more colors from the orange to purple range.

  • Unlike other cases of “pillaging”, Sakata Seed Corporation has agreed to share some of its royalties with the Indonesian government for the continued use of those native Indonesian plants.
  • In exchange, Sakata Seed corporation is entitled to preferential treatment regarding the exploitation of new strains to develop new plants.

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.

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