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    How to Plant and Care For New Guinea Impatiens

    blog post authorShrish Tariq
    Save For Later
    New Guinea Impatiens fuschia and coral pink colored blooms.

    Save For Later
    New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) are herbaceous annuals or perennials from the family Balsaminaceae that bear dramatic, colorful blooms. They are from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and are known as Impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri). The Impatiens is a popular choice for landscaping and gardening because of its low-maintenance, high-performance nature.
    When common Impatiens seeds mature, the capsules burst, sending the seeds flying as far as several feet away. They are partial shade-loving colorful groundcovers and bedding plants that are simple to care for and provide color. Here, we will explain how to plant, grow, and maintain your New Guinea Impatiens so you can also have a colorful escape inside or out.
    Note Icon
    Fun Fact: Male impatiens flowers become female with age.
    Did you know male impatiens flowers become female with age? They are known as zygomorphic flowers.
    Red new guinea impatiens groundcover.
    Image Source:Photo by claudiodivizia on GettyImagesNew Guinea Impatiens flowers come in variety of colors from pink, purple, red, yellow, and more!

    Quick New Guinea Impatiens Care Guide

    Impatiens hawkeri
    New Guinea Impatiens
    Balsaminaceae
    Intermediate
    Annual, but tender perennial in USDA 10,11
    Fast Growing
    Part-sun, part-shade. At least 2-4 hours of bright indirect light.
    Moderate. Needs consistently moist soil.
    Well-draining, humus-rich soil. Use perlite, vermiculite for drainage.
    Slightly acidic. 6-6.5
    From seeds, from cuttings
    10, 11, 12
    Not toxic
    Botanical Name
    Common Name
    Family
    Difficulty
    Plant Type
    Growth Rate
    Sun Exposure
    Water
    Soil Type
    Soil pH
    Propagate
    USDA Hardiness Zones
    Companion Plants
    Toxicity
    Image of flowers
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    What are New Guinea Impatiens?

    The New Guinea impatiens are shade-loving, low-maintenance annual flowers with a mound-like habit. They produce vibrant colors ranging from pink, white, lavender, and orange. They may be used as a backdrop in your garden or landscape to generate stunning palettes. The flowers are made up of five overlapping petals surrounding a tiny, circular center. Pollinators like butterflies, bees, and moths enjoy the nectar-filled flower spurs.
    New Guinea Impatiens prefer afternoon shade and consistently moist soil. The soil must not dry out, or New Guinea Impatiens will wilt. New Guinea impatiens aren't as quickly spreading as other flowering species, so they won't take up a lot of space in your garden. They are great bedding plants that thrive in containers and shade gardens. Begonias, Hostas, Caladiums, and Coleus are excellent companions for impatiens and other partial shade plants. 
    Another added benefit is that New Guinea impatiens are resistant to downy mildew, but like other plants are susceptible to common pests like aphids, thrips, and spider mites. 

    Why plant and grow New Guinea Impatiens?

    New Guinea impatiens are easy to care for and thrive in the shade. They are a more versatile choice than common impatiens due to their sun tolerance. New Guinea impatiens are hybrids that are more resistant to sun than common impatiens.
    They often create colorful palettes in the garden with their colorful, red, pink, and yellow blooms and variegated foliage in shaded areas.
    They attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators such as hummingbirds to your garden by providing attractive nectar-filled spur flowers.
    They are low-maintenance plants and resist downy mildew, which may easily damage impatiens of other varieties.
    Pro Tip Icon
    What is the difference between New Guinea Impatiens and common impatiens?
    They are more sun tolerant than other varieties. They are generally grown from cuttings and have larger blooms and leaves with their flowers growing up to 3 inches. They are also more resistant to downy mildew that can wipe out most other common impatiens.

    How to Grow New Guinea Impatiens

    Whether you're a novice or experienced gardener, new guinea impatiens are excellent plants. They may be grown either as perennials in USDA zones 10, 11, or as annuals in other areas. Impatiens are not frost-tolerant, so they must be overwintered indoors or grown as annuals outside. If the temperature falls below 34 degrees Fahrenheit, they will perish. 
    They also flourish in pots or as houseplants, provided that they are outside of direct sunlight. If you want to add color to your home, these plants are a great choice. However, New Guinea Impatiens doesn’t flower all year round, so don’t expect the flowers to stick around outside of their growing season in spring and summer.
    They love their soil to be consistently moist so water is a key component of care. Plant them in nutrient-dense (peat like) soil that retains moisture but drains well. You can include perlite, pumice, or bark to encourage draining as heavy peat moss can retain too much moisture waterlogging the soil especially when growing indoors or in shaded areas.

    Planting New Guinea Impatiens in your Garden (Outdoors)

    New Guinea impatiens are most commonly grown outdoors. They are perennial in USDA hardiness zones 10-11 and grown annually elsewhere. They do not bloom year-round.
    You will want to transplant your impatiens plant after the last spring frost outside of USDA zones 10+. Spring frost dates vary per hardiness zone and range anywhere from as early as February in warmer, temperate climates all the way to the end of May in colder climates.
    Since new guinea impatiens are shade tolerant, we recommend planting in a partially shaded area. Unlike common impatiens, new guinea impatiens are more sun-tolerant so they can do in some bright sunlight. A variety of Impatiens called the SunPatiens was specifically bred for full sunlight if you don't have shaded areas in your garden.
    New Guinea Impatiens plant well with other shade plants like caladiums, Asparagus Ferns, Elephant Ears (Alocasia), Bacopas, Fuchsias, Rhododendrons, and more. They also pair well with dark green foliage such as ajuga, coral bells, etc.
    You will want to plant New Guinea impatiens in areas with shelter from the wind - near a wall or other taller plants. 
    Impatiens can grow between 6 inches and 2.5 feet tall, depending on how close they are planted together. Remember that you control how tall impatiens are by how close you plant them. If you’re planting in a flower bed, you’ll want to space your impatiens 8 to 12 inches apart to allow room for growth.
    Since these plants thrive in nutrient-dense soil, you may supplement your soil with compost or slow-release fertilizer to boost nutrition before transplanting.

    New Guinea Impatiens Winter Care
    If you’re growing your new guinea impatiens outdoors outside of USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11 where these plants can grow perennially, you have a few options: grow as an annual and plant new ones the following year, transplant them indoors and grow as a houseplant, take cuttings and grow new guinea indoors. Although you can also grow impatiens by seed, and most hybrids produce seeds, the offspring rarely look like their parents. If you collect the seeds, you can sow them indoors in March and harden them the following spring frost to grow outdoors.


    How far apart do you plant new guinea impatiens?
    We recommend you plant New Guinea Impatiens about 12 to 18 inches apart when planting outdoors. They will grow into a round-like mound as they spread.
    If planting in a 10-12 inch pot indoors, you could probably do with 2 (max 3) small seedlings/transplants.
    What to plant with New Guinea Impatiens?
    Impatiens plants well with other shade-loving plants such as Asparagus ferns, begonias, coleus, hostas, sweet potato vine, rhododendrons, etc.
    Pink New Guinea Impatiens in a clay pot.
    Image Source:Photo by :Jobrestful on GettyImages.New Guinea Impatiens make great container plants whether for pots or hanging baskets!

    Planting and Growing New Guinea Impatiens Indoors

    You can make excellent houseplants with New Guinea impatiens, as they can tolerate low-light environments. If you're growing indoors, you should use nutrient-dense, well-draining soil. Constant moisture is required, so regular watering is crucial. Make sure to avoid waterlogging the soil and water thoroughly allowing water to drain through all the way. You can also avoid problems such as root rot and fungal disease by planting in containers with drainage holes. New Guinea Impatiens are great plants to grow in hanging baskets!
    In addition, impatiens prefer 60-70 degree temperatures, so most common indoor environments will do. It's critical to avoid temperatures below 45 F.
    How to Plant your New Guinea Impatiens in a Container
    You will want a decently large container to plant your new guinea impatiens as they love space. We recommend planting a couple in a 10-12inch pot when planting indoors.
    Always plant in pots with drainage holes to allow excess water to drain and prevent root rot and fungal diseases.
    You can pair two to three plants in one 10-12 inch pot if the plants are smaller and came in nursery-size containers (3-5inches).

    New Guinea Impatiens Care and Maintenance

    New Guinea Impatiens are generally easy to care for plants. Their preference for consistently moist soil makes watering the most important factor in maintaining their health. These varieties prefer partial shade but can even tolerate some sunlight compared to other common impatiens. Well-draining soil is an absolute must. Although New Guinea Impatiens loves consistently moist soil, be cautious of overwatering and creating conditions for root rot and fungal disease. If you're planting in a pot, make sure it has drainage holes.
    New Guinea is susceptible to common, garden variety pests like aphids, thrips, and spider mites. However, they are susceptible to downy mildew!

    💧Water

    New Guinea impatiens are not drought tolerant and thrive with regular watering. Without enough water, they will remain dry, start to wilt, drop leaves, stop blooming, and eventually die. A proper watering schedule is a foundational requirement for this variety.
    If you’re growing indoors, check that the top inch of soil is lightly moist by tapping your finger on the soil before watering. As a general rule of thumb, 1-2x a week will do especially during growing season in spring and summer.
    Excessive watering will create soggy soil causing root rot, fungal leaf spot, and attracting moisture-loving pests.
    Make sure to plant your New Guinea impatiens in a container with drainage holes and water thoroughly allowing it to drain through all the way

    ☀️ Sunlight

    Shade tolerant plants, New Guinea impatiens can grow in low light and full shade conditions. They prefer at least 4 hours of bright, indirect light every day. 
    If growing indoors, place them near east-facing windows where they get morning sun and afternoon shade or west-facing windows with afternoon sun and morning shade. You can also grow near north-facing windows which receive the least sunlight. South-facing windows receive the most direct light, so make sure to plant a couple of feet away from a south-facing window.
    Although they thrive in low light, sunlight is required to encourage healthy growth and blooms in your plant! You can supplement with a grow light if your indoor space doesn’t receive enough sunlight.

    Outdoors, plant in a partially shaded area that receives bright indirect light for a couple of hours everyday. New guinea varieties can handle some direct sun unlike other common impatiens varieties.

    Colorful New Guinea Impatiens blooms groundcover with white, fuschia, and purple flowers.
    Image Source:Photo by Ken Schulze on Shutterstock.Although they are shade loving plants, New Guinea Impatiens do require some light especially if you want those colorful blooms!

    🌡️ Temperature and Humidity

    New Guinea impatiens prefer warmer climates and high humidity (75% or above) and are not drought tolerant. Outdoors, they thrive USDA hardiness zones 10, 11, and 12. They prefer day or indoor temperatures from 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate nighttime temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll want to bring your plant indoors as they may die.
    If growing indoors, you can increase humidity through a small humidifier, by grouping houseplants together, or by placing your plant atop a pebble and water-filled tray. 
    Indoors, avoid placing near exterior doors and windows and air conditioners as New guineas are sensitive to cold drafts. 
    When planting outdoors, also avoid windy areas and plant in sheltered areas.

    🌱 Soil

    New guinea impatiens love humus-rich, nutrient-dense soil. They prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 6-6.5. They are heavy feeders so we recommend adding compost or other organic matter at time of planting to encourage more nutrition. 
    If planting indoors, use soil mix combined with peat for moisture retention and perlite for drainage. New guinea impatiens do well in African soil mixes as well. 

    🌻 Fertilizer

    New Guinea impatiens are heavy feeders, especially during their active growing and bloom seasons in late spring, summer, and early fall. You will want to fertilize with a balanced fertilizer. Be careful with overfertilizing which can cause root burn and stunt blooms.
    Use a completely water-soluble slow-release or liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks after watering especially during the growing season in spring and summer.
    If you're growing outdoors, you can also supplement with mulches to encourage more nutrition.
    If you prefer a natural way to feed your plant, you can use compost or organic matter when you first transplant in the early season. 

    😎 Maintenance and Pruning

    If you want to maximize your blooms, pruning your new guinea impatiens plant and some lightweight maintenance are encouraged Once your plant reaches 6 inches or more, you can now prune the plant. The most ideal time to prune New Guinea is after the main growing season is over in mid to late summer.
    You'll want to prune any faded or dying blooms from the last couple of months by pinching the stem back at its first set of leaves. Do this every couple of weeks throughout the blooming season to encourage growth.
    Outside of deadheading the blooms, you can also prune leggy or dead growth or prune to shape the plant to your liking. Leggy growth is usually a sign of a lack of light although these plants are shade tolerant. When pruning branches and stems, make sure that you don't prune off below 4-6 inches above the soil. As a recommendation, you can prune stems at one-quarter of their length above a leaf or leaf node.
    If you’re pruning, make sure to use sterilized gardening shears. You can sterilize your shears with rubbing alcohol.

    How to get New Guinea Impatiens to Bloom

    New Guinea impatiens flower prolifically when given the right light levels, fertilizer, and growing conditions.
    First, make sure your New Guinea impatiens receive enough light. They prefer a partially shady spot that gets 2-4 hours of bright indirect sunlight. If they’re receiving too much light (8hrs+), blooming can actually be reduced, leafs scorched, and smaller flowers if they do bloom.
    New guinea impatiens love nutrient-dense soil so moderate fertilization during growth season is recommended. You can use pellets outdoors or slow-release fertilizer. You can either use a balanced fertilizer or one that’s higher in Phosphorus (the P in NPK ratio) to encourage blooming. Fertilizers higher in phosphorus encourage prolific blooms, while high Nitrogen levels will encourage more foliage growth. 
    Lastly, consistently moist soil is a must. If you’re seeing symptoms of wilting, reduced or stunted growth - check your soil and make sure you’re keeping it consistently moist. Deep watering allowing water to drain all the way through the drainage hole if growing indoors is recommended.

    Common New Guinea Impatiens Problems and Pests

    Botrytis Blight: Yellow or Brown Spots on Leaves

    Yellow or brown spots are usually a sign of fungal disease, botrytis blight. If you're seeing circular brown or yellow spots on the leaves, this is a fungal leaf spot. Fungal leaf spots can grow in width and merge forming what is called blights.
    This is usually a sign of overwatering or overly moist growing conditions for your plant. Make sure you're following a proper water schedule. If you're growing as an annual, there's likely not much you can do other than remove the diseased plant so the infection doesn't spread. For longer-term prevention, make sure to plant in well-draining soil with perlite, peat moss, or vermiculite to provide appropriate drainage.

    Powdery Mildew: White or Gray Coating on Leaves

    If you're seeing powdery white or gray coating on your leaves, this is a sign of powdery mildew. If the infection becomes severe, your new guinea impatiens will drop leaves and stop growing. Powdery Mildew is caused by excessive moisture. Although these plants love partial shade, they benefit from some sunlight so that moisture has time to dry. If you're seeing powdery mildew, treat with neem oil every 10 days until the disease is eradicated.

    Impatiens not blooming; Impatiens is Wilting

    If your new guinea impatiens aren’t blooming, it’s likely a sign of light or water issues. If your plant is wilting, it’s likely too dry and in need of more water. In hot and dry areas, you can use organic mulch to help keep the soil cool and encourage more moisture retention in the soil.
    Make sure that your New Guinea impatiens is getting at least a couple of hours of bright sunlight a day. Although they love the shade, a lack of light can stunt growth and blooms.

    New Guinea Impatiens Pests

    The most common pests that love New Guinea impatiens are Aphids and spider mites.
    Aphids are tiny green insects that suck out the sap from plant juices. You will find aphids on the undersides of leaves and at the stem joints.

    Spider Mites are tiny, orange-like arachnids that you'll find on leaves or the undersides. You can read more in-depth about how to get rid of spider mites on indoor plants here.
    For both, Aphids and Spider mites, you can treat with insecticidal soap or neem oil every 10 days until the infestation is gone. On the first sign of infestation, try to quarantine your plants especially if they are in a separate container to prevent spread.

    Common FAQ for New Guinea Impatiens


    How do you keep New Guinea impatiens blooming?
    New guinea impatiens bloom all growing season long. You can supplement with water soluble fertilizer to encourage more nutrition and growth. Use a balanced (10-10-10, 15-15-15) slow-release fertilizer. Overfertilizing can cause root burn and stunt blooms. Feed every 2-3 weeks during growing season.
    How many hours of sun can New Guinea impatiens tolerate?
    New guinea can tolerate up to 4 hrs of bright sunlight. Too much sunlight can stunt growth, cause leaf scorch, and prevent blooms.
    How far apart do you plant New Guinea impatiens?
    Outdoors plant roughly 12-18 inches apart.