Impatiens

1.Q: I have an impatiens with variegated leaves which I can successfully propagate with cuttings but none of the seed I have saved from it will sprout. What is the trick to making the seed grow?

A. The impatiens you are growing is probably one of the New Guinea hybrids which do not produce fertile seeds. There are a few New Guinea impatiens hybrids such as the 'Firelake' series that have just become available which can be grown from seed, but most must be propagated by cuttings.

2. Q: I have 3 or 4 potted impatiens - a couple in the house and a couple outside during the summer. What do you do with them in the fall and winter? Can you keep them in the house until next spring/summer? (They do get a little messy indoors, since they the blooms drop off periodically.) Or, is it just as well to throw them out and start with new ones again next summer?

A: Impatiens will be damaged by the lightest frost so you will have to put them in a protected area if you want to overwinter them. Put them in a location where they will receive as much light as possible and keep them warm. They might defoliate and you should cut those plants back so they can resprout foliage which is tolerant to less light. Otherwise, get some more plants next spring and enjoy growing some more next year.



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