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Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:48 pm
A friend recently told me she had heard that impatiens had a disease this year and we should avoid buying them. I usually rely on lots of impatiens in my shady areas and want to know if this is true. Thanks for your advice. Marie
Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:27 pm
Your friend is correct. Impatiens downy mildew is a fungal disease that has become fairly widespread in the past few years. It has been devastating crops of impatiens in many areas of the country affecting both containerized plants and landscape plantings. Preventative applications of fungicides have been somewhat successful but once a plant is infected, control is virtually impossible and the infected plants should be bagged up and removed along with all dropped leaves.
For your shady areas consider planting other shade tolerant annuals that are not susceptible to this fungal disease. Some suggestions are: New Guinea Impatiens, coleus, begonia, torenia, perilla, browallia, fuchsia, and lobelia.