In only a few years, busy Lizzie, Impatiens walleriana, went from being one of the most popular warm season annuals to being unavailable in nurseries. It is now making a slight comeback. Most of those planted during their planting season last spring are now so profuse with bloom that their rich foliage is mostly obscured. Although they can be perennial, almost all get replaced in autumn.
The problem associated with their unavailability was that a type of downy mildew that is resistant to common fungicides had become a temporary epidemic among the growers who supply the plants. The disease is still out and about, so can still infect busy Lizzie, but is not such an epidemic after a few years of scarcity of host material for it to infest. Nonetheless, busy Lizzie is still risky.
Bloom is clear and cheery hues of pink, red, magenta, peachy orange, pale lavender and white. The five petaled flowers are about an inch or two in diameter. Leaves are a bit bigger than the flowers. Foliage and stems are succulent and very fragile, so will not tolerate traffic, and will die in winter if exposed to frost. The biggest plants can get almost two feet tall and three feet broad.