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Monica's Weekly Gardening Tips: Downy Mildew; Impatiens walleriana

In 2012 a fungus, named ‪‎downy mildew‬, appeared in ‪Impatiens walleriana‬ in the DC Metro area. Impatiens are a staple in every shade garden because of the pop of color they provide in darker areas of the yard. Gardener's have missed these little gems and are wondering if 2015 could be the year of the "Impatien Comeback".

Unfortunately, the time between the epidemic and reintroduction is still too soon. However, there are fewer problems in infected areas because most retai...lers and growers stopped selling and producing impatiens. This helped the host population to fall dramatically.

Here is the outlook for 2015 regarding impatiens.

1. Growers have been trying to breed a hybrid plant resistant to the fungus. They have succeeded with the Impatiens Bounce series. This series is immune to downy mildew, looks almost identical to Impatiens walleriana, and is named for its ability to retain it's form after long periods of drought.

2. Growers, breeders and retailers will continue to look for shade substitutes in begonias, New Guinea impatiens and other genera.

3. If retailers must sell impatiens, they should recommend planting them in containers only. This will not prevent infection if there are lots of spores floating around, but it will slow it down. In time, with new hybrid growing, other selections, and proper management, the severity of the impatiens gap will be reduced. But unfortunately, no. 2015 is not yet the year to plant the familiar Impatiens walleriana.

Impatiens Bounce™ Pink Flame PPAF 'Balboufink'

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