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THE IMPATIEN Dilemma

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Whether you are a garden novice or a veteran gardener, you may be aware of the sad fact that our shade garden annual favorite is being denied life by the nasty downy mildew that spreads all across our nation now. Even if you save your own Impatien seed and keep other garden center plants away from your carefully and lovingly tended imps, you are still vulnerable as this is an airborn pathogen that will stay in your soil from one season to the next. It starts on the underside of the plant where you don't always see it. You won't notice until the leaves turn yellow and fall off, the plant withering and dying. There is nothing as of yet that effectively will combat the virulent attack.
This is my list of alternatives to the dilemma of what to plant to give that same heavenly splash of color in the shade garden.
My top picks are
1) Begonia , green wax leaf, tuberous , angel and dragon wing
2) Torenia
3) Browallia
4) New guinea impatien
5) Diascia
6) Fuschia
7) Balsam
8) Shade coleus
9) Lobelia
10) Euphorbia 'diamond frost'
11) Geraniums
12) Ageratum
13) Caladiums
14) Strobilanthes
15) Fan Flower(Scaevola)
There are a bunch more that will take part shade such as Nicotiana, Salvia, and Sweet Williams.
I will miss the sweet sweet impatien, but while the experts search for a cure, it gives us all the opportunity to step out of our garden box and into the wild new territory of DIFFERENT and awesome plants that will put a smile on our garden faces.
Difficulty: Easy

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  • Barb Rosen
    Barb Rosen Wilmington, DE
    on Apr 4, 2013

    Thanks for this, Donna! Not being able to use our old stand-by, colorful impatiens, for shady areas is a big dilemma, Great to have a list of possible substitutes to try. much appreciated!

  • Debbie Borthwick
    Debbie Borthwick Canada
    on Apr 4, 2013

    I've heard of this problem, but haven't seen it...yet. I had impatiens in my gardens last year, but didn't have any issues. But, I doubt I'll plant them this year, I don't want to take the chance.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    360 Sod (Donna Dixson) Buford, GA
    on Apr 5, 2013

    I will still have people asking me for impatiens this spring...The doubles are my favorites, looking like baby roses

  • Patricia W
    Patricia W Eugene, OR
    on Apr 5, 2013

    I had a huge spread of downy mildew in my nursery greenhouse. I was tempted to toss everything. Many nurseries in my area in the Willamette valley in oregon had the problem, it came from one specific grower. I didnt though, I put some sugar free ginger ale in a backpack sprayer mixed with water and sprayed every single leaf and the soil in every plant.I had to end up trimming quite a few leaves but only ended up tossing about 30 plants. It never came back and I adjusted my humidity way down. One of my elderly lady customers told me about it and it worked! I threw the trimmings and plants in my burn pile and burned them.

  • Jody
    Jody Vancouver, WA
    on Apr 5, 2013

    Patti w what was your mixture of ginger ale and water. I need to try that. Thanks

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