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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

Got a question about this project?

  • Patty A
    Patty A New Milford, CT

    i love petunias, @Jim , but they need sun.. And @Elizabeth,I tried begonias...they are thriving everywhere but the sunless window boxes. I bring mine in every winter so I never have to buy any more....they turn into 'trees' when they feel the summer

  • Jim G
    Jim G Suffolk, VA

    Patty: I bought 8 begonia plants (4 white, 4 red) and put 4 into one per pot, approx 8 feet apart in a garden behind the pool. . ONE pot is doing ok, flowers and healthy, the 2nd ALMOST dying. I see these at Restaurants and thriving so can;t figure

  • Carolyn Ellison
    Carolyn Ellison Belton, SC

    I replaced all impatients with begonias. They are doing great. Some of the ones (begonias) I planted last year have come back. Love that. I will do more protecting this winter to see if my new ones will revisit next year.

  • Ann Robertson
    Ann Robertson Freeport, ME

    My impatiens were doing just great. Then came the hot, humid weather for a week here in Me. Looked out one day and they didn't look as well. My first thought was the downey mildew. However, on closer inspection, the Japanese beetles had arrived and

  • Ardale
    Ardale Poplar Bluff, MO

    Thanks so much for the list of shady plants you listed. My yard is a forest setting which looks more like a park then a yard. Pretty but no color apart from green in summer and brown in winter. Impatiens, ferns and hosta along with different

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