Impatiens – Winter Care

Q: When it’s time in the late summer to replace my impatiens with pansies, could I just clip the tops off the impatiens (leaving the roots intact), cover them with dirt, and plant the pansies on top? Would the impatiens come back next spring?

A: The impatiens would not come back from their roots but from seed they are scattering right now. My neighbor has a shady spot 15′ by 40′ covered in naturalized impatiens. The shortcoming to the reseeding scenario is that his plants don’t flower until June whereas container-grown impatiens from a nursery bloom from the minute you plant them in April.

If self-seeding fits your scheme, keep in mind that impatiens seed require light in order to germinate. If you cover them with soil as you plant pansies you’ll have no volunteer impatiens next year. However, there is a way around your predicament:

Look near the stems of your plants for the swollen pods that contain impatiens seed now. You’ll know they are ready for picking when just a touch causes them to quickly unfurl, slinging seeds every which-way. Carefully collect some of the ripe pods and put them in a paper bag. They will uncoil there and you can collect the seed. Scatter the seed on the soil around pansies after you plant them. You’ll have plenty of impatiens next summer.

Tags For This Article: