Thursday, July 18, 2019

Imara Impatiens Review 2019

Is there a spore or disease resistant strain of impatiens that can beat downy mildew?  

The jury's out.

Since the widespread outbreak of the insidious downy mildew six years ago, impatiens have plummeted in popularity.  Once the top shade annual in most European and U.S. gardens, the resurgence of the disease year after year caused the busy lizzie to fall in popularity.

Introduced in Europe in spring trials for 2018, Imara has now come to the U.S., and is offered in limited quantities.

In Swahili, the term Imara means "strong" or "resolute."

Planning to avoid traditional impatiens this year, I was intrigued by the appearance of a "disease resistant" strain at the county farm market.  After plopping down thirteen bucks for a flat of Imara impatiens let's hope the plants not only thrive--but plant themselves!

Bred from seed, Imara claims to be "The first impatiens walleriana with a high degree of resistance to downy mildew."  The grower also promises Imara will flower earlier and last longer to frost"--but only time will tell.

There is no difference in appearance from the former moldy variety.

Individual plants look healthy and full.  In the ground for a few weeks, there's no sign of disease.
So it it time to "take back the shade?"  Unclear, but "stand by" for further updates.

July 2019 update:  Despite a very rainy June and July, there's no sign of downy mildew.

Fingers crossed.

More on impatiens plight (blight:)

Bye Bye Busy Lizzies. What to Plant Instead of Impatiens?

Impatiens Update 2019

Imara going strong August 2019

Friday, January 25, 2019

Busy Lizzie or Bust? Should I Plant Impatiens in 2019?

Is it safe to plant impatiens this year? 

Appearances can be misleading.  If nursery shelves are any indication, then impatiens walleriana seem to be a go this year.  Downy mildew has now plagued this staple of the shade garden for at least a half dozen years.  Sadly, the disease  shows no signs of letting up.

Yet it's tough to pass up those lovely flats of pinks and salmons each spring.  But robust, healthy looking plants may whither before season's end, leaving the garden barren when it should have been poppin'. 

Cautious gardeners following expert advice held back from planting colorful  bizzies for the recommended three years--only to find that the disease had either remained in the soil or the dastardly spores had hitchhiked in on new purchases.  

Thus, in 2019, proceed with caution.  At the shop, inspect the undersides of baby plants for spots or dots.  Plants in drier areas or locations which did not host infected plants in prior years.  Impatiens mildew is a water mold. Irrigate in the morning to avoid moisture clinging to leaves overnight.  

Give it a cautious go if you must, and hope for the best. 

Begonia Shade Border
Impatiens are tropical natives.  The tiny seeds are difficult, but not impossible to start.  The moist environs of a greenhouse makes it a good host for killer spores.

Downy mildew only affects one breed, impatiens walleriana

Plan B calls for substitution of colorful alternatives:

Experiment or adapt.  Versatility is the mainstay of gardening.  

Made for the Shade: