The Great Outdoors


Just when you thought nothing new could possibly come along, we discover a “new” type of impatiens. It’s called “SunPatiens” and it seems to be a cross between the 20 plus years old New Guinea Hybrid Impatiens with the 1,000 plus years old regular impatiens giving us a breed that is more sturdy, more tolerant to heat, more tolerant to draught than any other type known.

Why then is it just now making the “rounds” when it has actually been around for at least three years or more? The answer is that when it first hit the market it was only offered by Home Depot as they had purchased the exclusive rights to this plant making only available at their stores across the nation. Some of you folks may have stumbled on to it by accident thinking it was simply another type of New Guinea Impatiens. You must have liked it as many of you are asking for it specifically. The good news is that it is now available at most greenhouses and garden centers everywhere.

Best tests have been performed in Texas at the Dallas Arboretum’s “trials” program where they were convinced, even before their trials that this was just another plant that would fail but where they ever surprised by the results. They planted small starts right out in the very hot Texas sun figuring the immediate death of these small tender seedlings only to find out that they didn’t care. The cuttings took right off growing with no problems surprising all of the growers and staff alike.

I have not tried these plants myself but I’m planning on running a few “test-beds” of my own. Please note that if you use the SunPatiens yourself, they are very fast growing and they get to be a minimum of 2.5 to 3 feet tall with some varieties growing up to 6 feet tall!

I really do not think that those of us selling these plants are clear on which type we have to sell as they are not clearly marked by the tags. Varieties include dwarf, trailing and tall but the labels simply say, “container, 18″ to 24” and “in the beds, “24” to 36″. Hopefully in the future it will be more clear as to which ones we actually are buying.

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Doug Hackbarth

Doug's is the former owner of Broadview Florist & Greenhouses in Waynedale. He authors a garden & landscaping article in the newspaper. In his adolescence he attended Hillcrest, Kekionga and Elmhurst HS. His expertise has been shared in print, tv and radio. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer