Home » Double Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana): Grow and Care Guide

Double Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana): Grow and Care Guide

Double Impatiens, scientifically known as Impatiens walleriana, is a popular flowering plant species often grown for its attractive and vibrant double-petaled flowers. These plants belong to the family Balsaminaceae and are native to East Africa, specifically in Tanzania and Mozambique. They are commonly referred to as “double impatiens” due to the double-layered petals of their blooms, which give them a fuller and more luxurious appearance compared to their single-petaled counterparts.

Information about Double Impatiens and some key characteristics:

  • flowers: The most distinctive feature of Double Impatiens is their showy, double flowers. These flowers come in a wide range of colors, including shades of pink, red, purple, white, and orange. They can be as large as 2 inches in diameter.
  • Foliage: The plant has bright green, lance-shaped leaves with a slightly serrated edge. The leaves are often held in opposite pairs along the stems.
  • Growth Habit: Double Impatiens typically grow as compact, bushy plants with a mounding habit. They can reach a height of 8 to 18 inches, depending on the variety.
  • Light Requirements: These plants prefer partial to full shade. They thrive in areas with filtered sunlight or morning sun and afternoon shade. Too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves and cause them to wilt.
  • Soil: Double Impatiens prefer well-draining, moist, and fertile soil. Adding organic matter, such as compost, to the soil can improve its quality.
  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry. These plants are relatively sensitive to drought and will wilt if not provided with adequate moisture.
  • Temperature: Double Impatiens thrive in moderate temperatures. They are not frost-tolerant and should be protected from cold temperatures. In regions with harsh winters, they are often grown as annuals or in containers that can be brought indoors during the cold season.
  • Maintenance: Regular deadheading (removing spent flowers) can encourage continuous blooming throughout the growing season. Pruning leggy or overgrown stems can help maintain a compact and bushy shape.
  • Pests and Diseases: Double Impatiens are susceptible to aphids, spider mites, and fungal diseases like powdery mildew. Keeping the foliage dry and providing good air circulation can help prevent these issues.
  • Uses: Double Impatiens are commonly used in containers, hanging baskets, flower beds, and as colorful ground cover. They are excellent choices for adding a pop of color to shaded areas of the garden.

Double Impatiens

Double Impatiens are appreciated for their low-maintenance nature and the profusion of colorful blooms they produce in shaded or partially shaded locations. They are a favorite among gardeners for their ability to bring vibrant color to areas where many other flowering plants may struggle to thrive due to lack of sunlight.

Planting Guide for Double Impatiens

Preparing your garden for planting is a crucial step in ensuring healthy and vibrant growth. Here’s a concise guide to get your garden ready:

Soil Preparation: Break up the existing soil using tools like a hoe, spade, or power tiller. Incorporate organic matter such as manure, peat moss, or compost to improve soil texture, drainage, and nutrient content. These organic ingredients also encourage beneficial soil organisms like earthworms. Consider adding a granulated starter fertilizer or a balanced all-purpose feed like 12-12-12 for an extra boost.

Spacing: Always follow the suggested plant spacing indicated on the plant label. Overcrowding can lead to reduced blooming and weak growth as plants compete for light. However, exceptions apply in specific scenarios, such as regions with short growing seasons, slower-growing shade plants, or when you need rapid color coverage for events or outdoor entertainment.

Planting: When removing plants from containers, gently release them without damaging the roots. Dig a hole that’s up to twice the size of the root ball and at the same depth as the container’s soil level. Lightly separate dense roots if needed. Place the plant in the hole and fill any gaps around the root ball with soil. Firm the soil by hand, with a trowel, or by gently pressing it down with your foot. The soil level should be even with the surrounding ground or slightly higher than the top of the root ball. Newly planted specimens should be watered daily for a few weeks to establish themselves.

Vining Annuals: If you’re planting vining annuals, provide vertical support like a trellis, fence, wall, or other suitable structure to allow the plant to grow and spread vertically.

Double Impatiens

Watering Guide for Double Impatiens

Proper watering is essential for the health and vitality of your plants. Here’s a practical guide to watering your garden effectively:

Initial Watering: For newly planted additions to your garden, it’s crucial to water them daily for the first couple of weeks. This helps them establish their root systems in their new environment.

Adjusting Frequency: After the initial period, adjust your watering frequency based on the weather and soil type. Clay soils retain moisture longer than sandy soils, so sandy areas may require more frequent watering. Generally, you can switch to a schedule of every two or three days.

Plant-Specific Needs: Different plants have varying water requirements. Some prefer drier conditions, while others thrive when consistently moist. Always refer to the plant label or do some research to understand the specific needs of each plant in your garden.

Targeted Watering: When watering, focus on the root zone, which is typically an area approximately 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) from the base of the plant. This ensures that the water reaches the roots where it’s needed most. Consider using a soaker hose for efficient and targeted watering. Alternatively, a watering wand with a sprinkler head attachment can help control the water flow.

Timing Matters: If you need to use a sprinkler, aim to water your garden in the morning. This allows plant foliage to dry during the day, reducing the risk of diseases and mold caused by prolonged moisture. Moist foliage can weaken or damage your plants over time.

Checking Soil Moisture: To determine when it’s time to water, perform a simple soil moisture check. Use your finger or a small trowel to dig into the soil. If the top 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) of soil is dry, it’s a sign that your plants need water.

Pruning Guide for Double Impatiens

Regular pruning is essential for maintaining the size and shape of your plants. Pruning involves pinching back the plants, which not only helps in shaping them but also stimulates the growth of dense and bushy foliage, resulting in more abundant flowers.

In addition to shaping, it’s important to remove old flowers. This not only keeps the plant looking healthy but also prevents seed production, which can divert the plant’s energy away from producing new flowers.

Double Impatiens

For certain plants, their primary appeal lies in their attractive foliage rather than their flowers. Examples include coleus, dusty miller, and flowering kale. In such cases, it’s advisable to remove any buds that may form because the main focus is on maintaining the foliage’s visual appeal. By pinching off these buds, you ensure that the foliage remains at its best.

Effective pruning and deadheading practices not only enhance the aesthetics of your plants but also contribute to their overall health and vigor. So, don’t hesitate to get hands-on with your plants to keep them in their prime condition.

Fertilizing Guide for Double Impatiens

Fertilizing your plants is a crucial aspect of their care, and there are various options to choose from, including granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic, and synthetic fertilizers. To make the right choice, consider the specific needs of your plants and the situation.

It’s essential to select a fertilizer with a balanced nutrient profile that promotes blooming. For instance, a formulation like 5-10-5 is designed to encourage vibrant flowers.

However, it’s important to exercise caution because over-fertilization can harm your plants. To avoid this, always refer to the package instructions for guidance on the correct amount and frequency of feeding. Following these directions ensures that your plants receive the appropriate nutrients without the risk of damage.

10 questions and answers about Double Impatiens

1. What is Double Impatiens?

Answer: Double Impatiens is a type of flowering plant known for its double-petaled flowers, scientifically named Impatiens walleriana.

2. What light conditions does Double Impatiens prefer?

Answer: Double Impatiens thrive in part shade to shade, making them suitable for gardens with limited sunlight.

3. When does Double Impatiens typically bloom?

Answer: Double Impatiens usually blooms during the summer season.

4. How tall can Double Impatiens grow?

Answer: Double Impatiens can grow to a height of 8 to 18 inches (20-46 cm).

5. What spacing is recommended when planting Double Impatiens?

Answer: When planting Double Impatiens, a spacing of 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) between plants is ideal to allow them room to grow.

6. What are the hardiness zones suitable for Double Impatiens?

Answer: Double Impatiens thrive in USDA hardiness zones 10, 11, and 12.

7. What is the lowest temperature Double Impatiens can tolerate?

Answer: Double Impatiens can tolerate temperatures as low as 30°F to 40°F (-1°C to 4°C).

8. What are the different colors available for Double Impatiens?

Answer: Double Impatiens come in various colors, including red, purple, pink, orange, and bicolor varieties.

9. How should Double Impatiens be cared for?

Answer: Double Impatiens should be kept consistently moist by watering regularly, and removing faded flowers promotes continuous blooming.

10. Are Double Impatiens suitable for small gardens?

Answer: Yes, Double Impatiens are suitable for small gardens due to their compact growth habit, and they require minimal pruning to maintain their shape.


Double Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) is a top choice for gardeners seeking to add color and elegance to shaded garden spaces. With their lush double blooms, easy maintenance, and adaptability to various growing conditions, these annuals are sure to bring joy and charm to your outdoor haven. Don’t miss the opportunity to cultivate these delightful plants for a spectacular summer garden.

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