Impatiens Problems

Common wilt disease?

By: Sandy Feather ©2007
Penn State Extension

Q. I have grown impatiens in beds under some trees in my front yard for many years. They are so colorful in the shade, and have always done very well for me. However, I have had a problem for the last two years. They start out fine, but begin to turn yellow and loose their leaves. They do not die, but just look sickly and stunted. What is wrong with them?

A. It is very likely that they have verticillium wilt, based on the symptoms you have described and because this is a common problem when impatiens are planted in the same place every year. (A firm diagnosis would require laboratory analysis, where the causal organism can be cultured out and identified). Verticillium wilt is a soil borne fungal disease that affects a wide range of plants, from annuals such as impatiens and tomatoes, to large shade trees, including maples and elms.

Soilborne Problems for Impatiens

It persists in the soil for many years, and there is no chemical control for the disease in the home landscape. This situation points out the importance of crop rotation, and why it is not a good idea to grow the same plant in the same place year after year.

red impatienspink impatiens
Red and pink impatiens

While there are no other plants that will provide quite the show of color that you are used to getting from the impatiens, you will have to plant something else in those beds now that the verticillium fungus is present. The suggestions I offer are for perennials rather than annuals because they are less likely to be bothered by verticillium.

Unlike annuals that bloom from planting until frost, perennials have a four to six week bloom time. Plant a combination of these plants so that you always have something in bloom, and learn to appreciate the many shade plants grown for their foliage, including Siberian bugloss, alumroot, hosta and Allegheny foamflower.


Other planting options when you have verticillium wilt problems:

Groundcovers: Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans); European Ginger (Asarum europaeum); Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum); Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolan); Spotted Deadnettle (Lamium maculatum); Pachysandra (Pachysandra spp.); Creeping Myrtle (Vinca minor).

Pachysandra around the base of an Oak tree

Herbaceous Perennials: Bearís Breeches (Acanthus spinosissimus); Monkshood (Aconitum spp.); Ladyís Mantle (Alchemilla mollis); Anemone (Anemone spp.); Columbine (Aquilegia spp.); Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum); Goatsbeard (Aruncus spp.); Astilbe (Astilbe spp.); Bergenia (Bergenia spp.); Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla); Turtlehead (Chelone spp.); Goldenstar (Chrysogonum virginianum); Bugbane (Cimicifuga spp.); Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis); Corydalis (Corydalis spp.); Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spp.); Foxglove (Digitalis spp.);Ferns (many species); Cranesbill (Geranium spp.); Golden Variegated Hakonechloa Grass (Hakonechloa macra  ĎAureaí); Hellebore (Helleborus spp.); Daylillies (Hemerocallis spp.); Alumroot (Heuchera spp.); Hosta (Hosta spp.); Crested Iris (Iris cristata); Bigleaf Ligularia (Ligularia dentata); Lilyturf (Liriope spp.); Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis); Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica); Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis spp.); Jacobís Ladder (Polemonium reptans); Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata); Solomonís Seal (Polygonatum spp.); Primrose (Primula spp.); Bethlehem Sage (Pulmonaria spp.); Rodgersia (Rodgersia spp.); False Solomonís Seal (Smilacina racemosa); Meadow Rue (Thalictrum spp.); Foamflower (Tiarella spp.); Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana); Toad Lily (Tricyrtis spp.); Violets (Viola spp.).

Flower borders of impatiens
Impatiens flower borders

Read More:

Armitage, Allen M., Armitageís Garden Perennials, Timber Press, 2000. ISBN-10: 0881924350.

Clausen, Ruth and Nicolas Ekstrom, Perennials for American Gardens, Random House, 1989. ISBN-10: 0394557409.

Darke, Rick, The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses, Timber Press, 1999. ISBN-10: 0881924644.

DiSabato-Aust, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden, Timber Press, 1998. ISBN-10: 0881928038

Harper, Pamela and Frederick McGourty, Perennials: How to Select, Grow & Enjoy, HP Books, Los Angeles, 1986. ISBN-10: 08-958-6281

Still, Steven M., Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants, Stipes Publishing Co.,1994. ISBN-10: 0875634338.


Growing in the shade

Outstanding flowers worth growing

Iris blooming problems


home | terms of use | contact | search | site map
Copyright ©2017  DONNAN.COM  All rights reserved.