New Guinea impatiens

(Question)

I read in the Toronto Star Sat. May 30 that it is not recommended to plant impatiens due to downy mildew.
I read on line that New Guinea impatiens are less susceptible.
Is it ok to plant New Guinea impatiens or best to be safe and stay away from them?
Thanks for your advice.

(Answer)

You are quite right: for the last number of years, the tried and true impatiens (sometimes called busy lizzie) have suffered from mildew, right from the growers. It is recommended to stay away from them, as mildew can attack so many plants in your garden.

The New Guinea impatiens are quite different from the standard, as they do well in sun for about half the day. It is a moisture lover, however, so you must keep the plants watered, particularly in a pot or basket. These colourful blooms come in bright shades from lavender to orange, spanning the rainbow with a choice of bedding colours. Mass planting in a bed looks spectacular, as even the leaves are attractive. Plant the individual plants approximately 30 to 45 cm apart, and the mounds of flowers will come in a few weeks.

Aside from keeping them well watered, they tend to be heavy feeders too, but use a low nitrogen mix, as you want flowers, not just leaves. Mix according to directions, and water about every 10 to 15 days.