Sunpatiens, a touch-me-not for full sun


Sunpatiens is the answer to all who love Impatiens and wish to see them bloom in full sun!

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 with this touch-me-not for many long months.

Planting Sunpatiens

How to plant Sunpatiens to the ground or to a pot

Planting sunpatiens in a potSpring is when to plant Sunpatiens ® flowers purchased in nursery pots.

  • Favor sun or part sun.
  • The ground or pot must drain well and have a lot of humus.
  • Plant mulch will retain water and slowly convert to humus over the season.
  • Plant many together, spaced about 16 inches (40 cm) from the next to create a nice cover.
  • Note: setting up drip irrigation helps in hot, dry places. Set a timer, because continuous water would rot your sunpatiens.

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 for abundant flower-bearing.

Planting sunpatiens in the ground

Propagating Sunpatiens

From a biological point of view, it’s possible to propagate Sunpatiens from seeds and cuttings. However, restrictions apply because it’s patented, and you’re not allowed to.

Caring for and pruning sunpatiens ®

Care for sunpatiens is child’s play and no pruning nor pinching is required. It naturally branches out.

  • Water regularly in case of heat waves.
  • Add flower plant fertilizer to enhance blooming, but you’ll still have many flowers if you don’t.

In pots or garden boxes, amplify the appeal and stimulate budding of new flowers by removing wilted flowers regularly (deadheading).

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.

Diseases and enemies of sunpatiens

This flower is more resistant than most impatiens, but it still occasionally does get sick. Find more details on sunpatiens pests and diseases here.

Sunpatiens winter care

Winter care for sunpatiensDon’t be surprised if your outdoor sunpatiens doesn’t survive from one year to the next because it isn’t hardy. It will grow back after winter only where the season is very mild (no freezing). In colder places, grow sunpatiens as an annual that must be replaced every spring.

  • But you can try growing sunpatiens in pots to bring inside your home during  colder months.
  • If the lowest temperatures in your area are around freezing, winterize your sunpatiens to avoid problems.

Uprooting your sunpatiens ® from the growing bed into 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 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 growing the plants in pots, reduce watering to only once a fortnight or once a month during the winter, as you would most house plants. Don’t add any fertilizer during winter.

Learn more about sunpatiens ®

Landscaping with sunpatiensVery 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 full sun and warm weather is what makes this Impatiens 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

Different sunpatiens varieties

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 important.

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 local 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.

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY 2.0: Serres Fortier
CC BY-SA 2.0: F. D. Richards