Impatiens tinctoria

Impatiens (2) (1024x680)This magnificent Impatiens tinctoria was a gift from The Kernow Kid.  What is indisputable from this photo is the beauty of the butterfly flowers, exotic and fragrant, purest white blotched ominously with venous scarlet.  What is not so obvious is that at present this tuberous perennial is 2m tall.  Basically it is a Busy Lizzy on steroids.  In ideal conditions, in the high altitude of African rainforests, its bamboo like stems can reach a staggering 4m.  It is much hardier here that its appearance would suggest, supposedly taking -6C, although a contingency cutting in the greenhouse and a mulch in winter is probably advisable.  It does not have the thuggish nature of its relative, the onward marching Himalayan Balsam, in fact it does not set seed readily.  In Ethiopia red dye is made from the root, hence its species name tinctoria.  It is a great addition to the dappled shade in the Cherry Tree border, where hopefully it will remain for many years.  Unless we have an urgent need for red dye of course.



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12 responses to “Impatiens tinctoria

  1. Adam D

    Is that down at your garden now Gill? My one is about 2 foot tall and has a few buds on it, but it has performed better in previous years.

    I bought mine from Cally Gardens in Dumfries & Galloway and the owner, Michael Whittaker, reckons they get hardier with age, but would appreciate a mulch in the first few years (particularly up here in Scotland).

    • Yes that is last week, have taken a cutting already just in case. Do you think it may have been a bit dry for it this year? I did have to water this one a couple of time as it was looking a bit wilty, our plants are not usually so pampered!

  2. Adam D

    You could be right about the lack of moisture Gill. Mine is quite a warm and sunny place and it has looked a bit droopy at times over the last couple of weeks (watering borders is something that we do about once every 10 years up here!)

  3. It’ s gorgeous, in fact it has been on my wants list for ages. White flowers with a deep red or maroon throat are always irresistible.

    • Yes, I am very pleased, it is everything I hoped it would be. As we are terraced I have planted at towards the back of one border so you can view the flowers easily from behind. Not sure that makes sense but I am sure you will work it out 🙂

  4. This is a fabulous plant and is hardy in the east midlands. I always mulched it and it always came back up. It does need plenty of moisture though and I always fed it well and it grew to 1.5m or more. The flowers are so sweetly scented. I need to find a supply here in Ireland because I am sure it would grow like a weed here. Thanks for reminding me about this great plant.

  5. I have always steered clear of Impatiens in the garden….I may rethink …. 🙂

    • We grow Impatiens omeiana and it is almost a weed, but a very pretty one! So pleased with this one and the very kind Kernow Kid also brought us a couple of other, more delicate species to try. I may be hooked!

  6. Cathy marjoram

    I was just thinking it really looks like balsam. There’s a total invasion of the Himalayan Balsam going on down the side of the A38 at the moment. I remember when I ‘introduced it’ into the garden a Windmill Hill….what a disaster!!

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