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.
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:
Made for the Shade: