80801In 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.

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9 thoughts on “Busy Lizzie

  1. I’ve never seen the white. Being a great fan of white, these could tempt me, since I assume they would make an acceptable pot plant. I’ll have to do some exploring to see if they’re suitable for the conditions on my balcony.

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  2. 20 years ago when I first planted our garden here I had busy Lizzie’s growing like weeds and I loved their cheerful little faces. But they have slowly disappeared. Now sadly only have the occasional one pop up

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      1. That is odd. Once they find a place they like, they should be happy with it until something changes. They do not deplete nutrients too fast, and even if they did, a bit of fertilizer should help. The problem could be associated with other plants in the garden. For example, our are not doing as well as they normally do because we did not rake up the debris from the redwoods above as efficiently as we normally do.

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