Downy Mildew has been wreaking havoc on common impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) over the last few years. This fungal disease usually appears as the summer heat begins rising. This also happens to be when most impatiens start filling in and looking lush.
Diseased impatiens will wilt and then drop their leaves, leaving bare stems. Unfortunately there is no fungicide available at this point for combating the disease. And the double whammy is that its nasty spores can live up to five years in the soil. What is a shade gardener to do?
There are lots of alternatives to impatiens. Great picks include Torenia, many varieties of begonias, coleus, and of course, New Guinea impatiens
Meanwhile, growers have been furiously working to bring out a more traditonal impatiens that is resistant to disease. There have definitely been breakthroughs lately.
The “Bounce” series shows great promise. As a matter of fact, it’s a 2015 All America Selections Flower Award Winner, so it seems things are headed in the right direction for this favorite bedding plant.
New Guinea impatiens shouldn’t be ignored though. The big difference is in the spear shaped foliage, but it may appeal to you as well. They’re completely unaffected by Downy Mildew, so you can feel assured that your landscape won’t suffer any losses in the annuals department.