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Pruning Impatiens

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By the end of every Baltimore summer many gardeners have pots or garden beds full of leggy impatiens. The overly long stems may look tired or show signs of sun scorching or slug and snail damage. Pruning the impatiens will not only improve the appearance of the plant but it will also make it bushier. With a little care, your plants may bloom again and brighten your garden at the end of the season.

August is a good time to prune impatiens because they can look sprung out after a mid-summer growth spurt. Pruning will help them look bushy again. You can either use pruning shears or scissors on impatiens. To decide where to make the cut, look at the stem. You will see little nodes that look like small green bumps. These nodes are where new branches will sprout from once you make the trim. Cut the stem off about 3 or 4 inches above the ground.

Once impatiens are pruned they need little care. These flowering plants do not need much fertilizer as this will only encourage leaf growth over flowers. Too much water will also affect flowering as it may make new buds drop off. Since we’ve has so much heat in Baltimore recently, you may want to protect your impatiens from direct afternoon sun. Throw a sheet over them during the hottest part of the day, about mid-afternoon. Though, once the severe heat of summer is over they should be fine until it begins to get cold.

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