Impatiens walleriana (syn. Impatiens sultanii), also known as busy Lizzie (United Kingdom), balsam or simply impatiens, is a species of the genus Impatiens, native to eastern Africa from Kenya to Mozambique. It is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant growing to 15–60 cm (6–24 in) tall, with broad lanceolate leaves 3–12 cm long and 2–5 cm broad. Leaves are mostly alternate, although they may be opposite near the top of the plant. The flowers are profusely borne, 2–5 cm diameter, with five petals and a 1 cm spur. The seedpod explodes when ripe in the same manner as other Impatiens species, an evolutionary adaptation for seed dispersal. The stems are semi-succulent, and all parts of the plant (leaves, stems, flowers, roots) are soft and easily damaged.
Although perennial in frost-free growing conditions, it is usually treated as a half-hardy annual in temperate regions (though pot-grown plants can be successfully overwintered indoors). It is commonly cultivated in parks and gardens, typically grown in containers but also in bedding schemes. Propagation is by seed or stem cuttings (which often root readily in water). Numerous cultivars in a range of colours from white to purple, are widely available commercially, either as seeds or young plants. They include the following:-
Super Elfin series is the dominantly available commercial cultivar group. This group of impatiens was bred by Claude Hope in Costa Rica. Mr. Hope developed this species from its native wild form into one of the most popular bedding plants in the world.
Pests and diseases
Impatiens downy mildew has spread widely in recent years and has seriously damaged the commercial production of I. walleriana hybrids.
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- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Impatiens Accent series". Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Impatiens walleriana Super Elfin Series". Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Impatiens walleriana Tempo Series". Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- Pink, A. (2004). Gardening for the Million. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.