Impatiens – Is It Safe To Plant?

Q: For many years, I planted impatiens in my shaded areas. I read that they have developed some kind of disease and weren’t available at nurseries anymore. I saw a packet of impatiens seeds so I bought them and the seedling soil and trays to get them started. Now I’m wondering if they are safe to plant and if the disease been eradicated? 

A: The disease that has affected impatiens so rampantly is called downy mildew. Your information is correct that, once established in a bed, the disease stays there for years. It’s possible for downy mildew to be transmitted by seed but I doubt very much that seed companies are selling a contaminated product. Remember that impatiens seeds should not be covered with soil, just gently patted into the soil surface so light hits them and initiates germination.

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