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.
Begonia dragon wings
New Guinea Impatien
Pink fan flower with Creeping Jenny
Strobilanthus(purply leaf) and Euphorbia (white flowers)

Frequently asked questions

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  1 question
  • Terry Terry on Jun 15, 2017
    I have a clementis vine --for the last two years has only gottenthree blooms --any hope for this--


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  • Ann Robertson Ann Robertson on Jul 31, 2013
    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 some tiny little bugs were sucking the juice out of the blossoms.

  • Ardale Ardale on May 18, 2017
    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 grasses and wild strawberries are my go to flower garden plants. Will be looking for some of the plants you listed. Thanks again for sharing.