Designing Your Landscape With Impatiens

Impatiens can provide an instant burst of color and add symmetry to any home garden or landscape. This colorful, long-lasting bloomer does have some special requirements, however, that need to be taken into consideration before you indiscriminately stick them in the ground.

Edge Planting

Many home gardeners find long stretches of barren beds along lawns tedious and boring. One solution is planting the edges with impatiens. Edging material can be symmetrical bricks, irregular-shaped boulders, plastic or synthetic edging, or even railroad ties. The whole purpose of the edging material is to keep weeds at bay and grass from invading the planting area. Impatiens serve as a natural and colorful border along the edge and make the transition from the lawn to the driveway, house, trees or garden seamless and ordered.

Planting along the edge means you don’t extend the impatiens beyond a certain distance. Going beyond that makes the design more of a mass planting.

Mass Planting

Sweeping landscapes with lots of acreage or barren areas requiring symmetry can benefit from mass planting of impatiens. Curving borders cut between grass and trees, for example, serve as a natural line of demarcation. Inside the border and as far as the landscape permits, a sea of impatiens sets the area apart–and with distinction.

Tree Borders

If conditions permit and the design is appropriate for the home landscape, try adding impatiens as a border around trees. Remember that impatiens prefer full shade and will tolerate partial shade. Just don’t plant them in an area that receives full sun, or they’ll need constant watering and won’t flourish.

Container Planting

Got a large patio or deck that needs jazzing up? Consider planting impatiens in containers or baskets and hanging them up at regular intervals. Be aware that container impatiens plants require more watering and regular application of a liquid fertilizer (every 3 to 4 weeks) than impatiens planted directly in the landscape.

Using Color Themes

There are many ways to utilize color in designing your home landscape. With a monochrome theme, a single color impatiens symbolizes unity and consistency. Monochromatic garden color is restful on the eye and less distracting.

Analogous or adjacent colors are those that are next to or near each other on the color wheel. Using these color themes for impatiens in the garden is all about intensity of color, which one is more predominant or placement of colors.

There are warm colors and cool colors, complementary (opposite) colors, neutrals and variety.

A rock garden, situated in a corner of the lot or by the fence, is another area to plant impatiens in the landscape. Since impatiens grow to a height of between 16 and 18 inches, they should be planted as either the first or second row in the rock garden design. Arrange the next groups of plantings according to size, color, shape and texture for maximum effect.

In the end, designing your landscape with impatiens is very much what works best for you. With the right growing conditions (shade to partial shade, adequate moisture, regular fertilizing), impatiens will make a fine addition to any landscape design.