Saturday, January 14, 2017

Losing Impatiens in 2017

In 2018 impatiens blight is likely to return
Sickly stems and yellowed leaves reappeared in mid-summer last season.

Seems the balsam blight has tucked in.

Despite the hope that downy mildew would fizzle after a three year quarantine, impatiens remain diseased after four years.

Good garden practices can't overcome the trifecta of nature.  Cooler temperatures, wet springs and cold winters create a susceptible host for the pathogen.  As a water mold, impatiens blight thrives in cooler humid environments in the range of 59 to 73 degrees. Once infected,
midsummer heat is no antidote for these tender annuals.

It's not difficult to be seduced by full flowering flats each spring.  It's simply not worth the cost and effort  to purchase and plant annuals which may not survive the season, and could contaminate the surrounding soil to boot. 

As soon as the signs of blight appear {drooping leaves, tiny white flecks on the underside} there's no going back.  There's no cure. Pull the plants out and dispose of them far away.  Do not compost. 

Begonias are the new impatiens
If you succumb to the understandable lure of these colorful shade annuals, it's recommended that starters be quarantined for at least two weeks.  Check for signs of the disease.  Don't plant in the same location as the prior year (or two.)

While the busy lizzie blight is not transferable to surrounding plant species, it is recommended that plants within a three foot radius be removed. Still, I can't bring myself to remove a healthy plant simply because of unruly neighbors. 

Avoid the grief--it's far less frustrating to plant fill the yard any of number of colorful alternatives:

What to Plant Instead of Impatiens?

Should I Plant Coleus Instead of Impatiens?

Begonias are the New Impatiens

Plants That Thrive Where the Sun Don't Shine