Impatiens hawkeri SUNPATIENS SERIES
Common Name: New Guinea impatiens 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Balsaminaceae
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 1.50 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers freely
Bloom Description: Pink, coral, orange, salmon, red, lilac, lavender and white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Rabbit

Culture

Unlike traditional New Guinea impatiens which need protection from full sun, SUNPATIENS SERIES impatiens were developed to thrive, as the series name suggests, in full sun. They also thrive in hot and humid summer climates. Full shade should be avoided.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Impatiens hawkeri, commonly called New Guinea impatiens, is a very popular bedding plant in the U.S. today. It is a broadly defined species that is native to New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and New Ireland. It was first collected by Lt. Hawker (hence the specific epithet) in Papua, New Guinea in 1884, but was not introduced into the U.S. until the early 1970s. New Guinea impatiens for the most part features larger plants, larger flowers and better performance in part shade areas than the popular standard impatiens (Impatiens walleriana). They are commonly grown in part shade to shade areas, with little tolerance for full sun. Leaves are in whorls of 3 to 7 leaflets. Oval to elliptic leaflets (2-4" long) are dark green to bronze to variegated. Flattened 5-petaled flowers come in a variety of colors including white, pink, orange, red, violet, and purple. Plants typically grow to 6-18" tall. Flowering is non-stop from May to October. New Guinea impatiens have now been developed into a huge number of different cultivars some of which have been introduced as part of named series.

Although plants native to New Guinea are variable in terms of flower/foliage color, plant size and leaf shape, those plants are now generally considered to be all included within 15 informal groups (natural variability within a single species) as part of a broadly defined Impatiens hawkeri. Former separate species once identified for New Guinea impatiens (e.g., I. schlecteri and I. mooreana) and hybrids between such different species of New Guinea plants (known as New Guinea hybrids) are no longer recognized.

Genus name comes from the Latin word impatiens meaning impatient in reference to the violent seed discharge from the ripe pods.

Specific epithet honors Lt. Hawker RN who collected the plant in Papua, New Guinea in 1884.

SUNPATIENS SERIES is the first impatiens to thrive in full sun. It also thrives in climates with high heat and high humidity. Plants are generally larger, bushier and more floriferous with longer spring to frost bloom periods than the traditional New Guinea impatiens. These plants were developed by Sakata Seed of Japan, and are the result of hybrid crosses between traditional New Guinea impatiens and wild impatiens. Plants come in three habits: Compact Series (compact habit to 18-24" tall), Spreading Series (mounding habit to 24-30" tall) and Vigorous Series (vase shape habit to 30-36" tall). Large 5-petaled asymmetrical flowers (to 3" across) typically cover the plants with bloom from spring to frost. Flower colors include shades of pink, coral, orange, salmon, red, lilac, lavender and white. Ovate to elliptic leaves (to 3” long) are light green to dark green. U.S. Plant Patents have been obtained or in some cases patent applications remain pending for all plants in this series.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Plants are reportedly highly resistant to downy mildew. Potential disease problems include impatiens necrotic spot virus, fungal blights, powdery mildew, and rots. Potential insect problems include aphids, mealybugs, thrips, whitefly, slugs and snails. Watch for spider mites.

Foliage will typically scorch in too much sun for most plants in this genus, but not for plants in the sun-loving SUNPATIENS SERIES.

Garden Uses

Mass or group in beds and borders. Tall ground cover. Edging along walks or paths. Containers, window boxes and hanging baskets. Houseplant.