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Re: OT: Impatiens

Impatiens are a real favorite of mine.  Of course, as Anner has pointed
out, there are two main types.  "Balsams" are the sort that were popular 40
years ago and found in every garden.  They are tall (to 3') base-branched,
and bear flowers along the stems in the leaf axils.  Seeds are still
available and they are very much worth growing.

Like Mark, I prefer the old taller varieties of "Sultanas" (what most
people consider Impatiens today) but have difficulty finding them.  But in
our long growing season here, many of the dwarf varieties will get quite
tall, especially if they are planted close together.  My current favorite
strain for this purpose is "Bruno" from Thompson and Morgan.  Most of these
Sultana types are actually perennial and if protected from freezing live on
for years in Florida, growing larger each year.  Here in the North I have
found that potted impatiens can be dried off, losing most of their stems,
but a sort of crown persists that will sprout again when watered.

Also worth a try are the African Impatiens offered by Burpee.  These are
quite tall and have flowrs more like our native Jewelweeds than the garden
sultanas, but in very nice blended pastel colors.  I've saved a few I
especially liked by taking cuttings.

Has anyone had the experience of their impatiens plants, especially when
grown indoors, developing distorted terminals which eventually die?
Sometimes but not always the plant as a whole recovers from the base.  This
seems related to something that has also been taking off most of my sweet
and chili pepper plants every few years.  My Ag agent claims it is
herbicide damage, but I use no herbicides and my garden is quite isolated
from any that may, etc.  It in fact acts like a contagious disease.  Any

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (804)223-6374

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