For many years, I used to grow impatiens in my garden and in containers.  These annual plants were so easy to grow and care for and I loved the bright, cheerful colors.  Then I could no longer find them. Since 2011, Impatiens flowers were decimated across the globe by a strain of downy mildew. Impatiens downy mildew (IDM) is a water mold that caused the flowers to drop and eventually the plant collapses.  This occurred when there was high humidity and cool night temperatures.  This meant the popular shade flower could not be grown with confidence.

Many gardeners grew other shade-loving flowers and plants like Begonias, Coleus, and New Guinea Impatiens, which were not susceptible to IDM.  Gardeners still missed their impatiens and have continued to look for something to take traditional Impatiens walleriana’s place.                                    

At last year’s, California Spring Trials we were able to see Beacon Impatiens; which will be introduced this year.   PanAmerican Seed worked with a team of breeders in The Netherlands and a team in the United States and after numerous plant trials and tests, they developed these new Impatiens that are being introduced as Beacon Impatiens.

Now our gardens can once again be packed with these cheerful, long-lasting flowers.  Beacon Impatiens offer plants that are highly resistant to Impatiens downy mildew (IDM).  This year these flowers will be available in six colors and two mixes. The colors include:

  • Bright Red
  • Coral
  • Orange
  • Salmon
  • Violet Shades
  • White

There are a red and white mix and another mix of several other colors named select mix.   Burpee has a Beacon Impatiens seed mix and plants.  Click here to learn more.

We also found you can get white impatiens seeds from Harris Seeds. 

Impatiens may be grown from seed and sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or from potted plants. Select a location in full to part shade with good rich moist organic soil.  Plants should stand 12 inches apart in the garden. Beacons grow about 18 inches tall in the shade, part shade, and with adequate soil moisture, even full sun. Try growing Beacon impatiens in hanging baskets, window boxes, containers, and in shaded landscapes. 

In the spirit of bringing light and happiness to gardens everywhere, PanAmerican Seed will donate 3% of its global Beacon Impatiens sales to a less-widely known charitable organization each year.  For the 2020 garden season, the donation will go to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation (OI). The MISSION of the OI Foundation is to improve the quality of life for those living with osteogenesis imperfecta through research, education, awareness and mutual support. Learn more about this organization here

You will be able to find them in local garden centers.  Let us know if you are going to give them a try!

Photos courtesy of Jill Mazur.

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