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Planting impatiens in 2014

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Are you wondering if you can plant the ever-faithful impatiens spring 2014? Last year the gardening world was buzzing about the global impatiens disease causing stunted growth, off-color, light green leaves, leaf and flower drop, and, eventually, stem collapse. Some nurseries, including Moore Blooms in Middletown, RI, refused to even offer impatiens of any sort summer of 2013.

Impatiens walleriana, or common garden impatiens, is the species that is affected by the fast spreading spores. New Guinea or SunImpatiens are seemingly unaffected by the disease.

I'm a sucker for Fusion Impatiens and have always purchased just two for pots. It grows so big, one will fill a fourteen inch pot. Yesterday at DeCastro's Farm and Garden Center in Portsmouth, I asked about this year's crop of impatiens. And was told, "it's not the impatiens, it's the dirt they grow in." So the answer is 'yes,' you can go ahead and plant impatiens, but with precautions.

The pathogen is released into the soil when the leaves and flowers drop, and continues to survive for up to eight years, but does not affect other garden plants, just impatiens.

Solutions:

  • Always wash, then rewash your gardening tools.
  • Move your impatiens beds to another area.
  • If planted in pots, remove the soil and the plants and bag securely for the trash.
  • Scrub the pots with bleach and water, then let dry before planting.
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