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BREEDING OF IMPATIENS
Breeders have spent many years developing new and exciting varieties of impatiens and as a result of these developments there is a type of impatiens for any situation. The first seed from the new cross is called an F1. As F1 seed can only be taken from the Ist cross for the plant to grow "true" this them makes it more expensive. F2 seeds (taken from the F1's daughters) are much cheaper and perform less well as they do not possess all the advantages or colour ranges of the F1's. If you gather your own F1 seed generally it will not perform as well as the mother plant.
SEED VERSUS PLANTS
Should you buy your impatiens as seeds or plants? Impatiens can be grown from seed and if you have the time and the room, this is one way to insure you will be able to find the varieties you want. But not all varieties can be grown form seed. The standard impatiens plants that you can buy form garden centres and nurseries are seed grown and their seed is readily available to buy in the garden centre and nursery catalogues. Double impatiens are propagated from both seed and cuttings, however, some of the exciting new double varieties are only propagated by cutting, so you will have to buy those plants. New Guinea impatiens are almost all grown from cuttings, especially the new varieties. A few varieties are available form seed. The new Seashell series is propagated from seed (available from Burpee and a few other seed companies) and is available as plants.
TYPES OF IMPATIENS
"Impatiens" lovingly known as Busy Lizzie are such a beautiful and versatile group of plants that they easily earn the position they have held for several years as the number one basket and patio plant in the country.
Accent is arguably the best selling single flowered series available today. Its outstanding garden performance has earned it the Award of Garden Merit from the
Royal Horticultural Society. Superb mixture of colours interspersed with bicoloured blooms for added interest. Attractive wherever they are planted. Flower size 2 inches.
Our new introductions are now the UK's favourite double flowering Busy Lizzie. Used in baskets, containers or in the garden, the result will always be outstanding. Our new range benefits form unique colours, great habit, flower-size, and loads of rosebud blooms all season long.
This is the type of impatiens we have all used in gardens, tubs and borders for many years. Their single flowers come in an attractive wide range of solid colours (white, pink, rose, red, purple, lavender) and habits. There are also some picotee and star varieties. The picotee design is a light colour on the bloom interior and a darker colour on the edge of the petals.
The star pattern is a solid colour, like red or rose, with a white star formed in the centre by the five petals. When picking out impatiens, always look at the tag for information on the height and spread of the plant. Too often, gardeners pick out their impatiens based purely on the colour of their blooms. But that exact colour may come in a tall, medium or short plant. The different types are called series. One of the best compact, spreading series is called Super-Elfin. Accent is a good medium size series and Blitz is a series of impatiens that grows tall.
These plants have larger and showier blooms that look like miniature roses and these plants have come a long way in recent years. The older varieties tended to be leggy and too tall, but the new varieties are much more compact. The flowers on our new series are held well above the foliage. These look spectacular in patio pots and containers.
New Guinea Impatiens
These plants have a lot going for them. Their flowers are much larger than other impatiens with colour that almost glow. The foliage itself is much larger and the plants are more upright than spreading. Some of the varieties have variegated leaves. New Guinea impatiens were developed as impatiens that would tolerate more sun than others and they need more light than other varieties to bloom. Our summer sun can be too intense for them unless you can be absolutely sure they have adequate moisture - if you find them wilted, however, water them immediately and they are very likely to recover - quite a forgiving plant!
The Seashell series of hybrid impatiens offers some incredible colours not available in other types of impatiens. On plants that are slightly more upright than standard impatiens the Seashell series comes in a true yellow and fruit colours such as papaya, apricot, passion, peach and tangerine. Another hybrid series is called Firefly - it is a compact plant with small delicate flowers in a range of colours.