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Plant fusion impatiens for shade garden color
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Most of us first encountered the word fusion in physics or chemistry classes, but now we see it everywhere. Fusion is a Ford car, razor blades and also one of the hottest new impatiens varieties.
The Fusion impatiens were introduced a couple of years ago by Ball FloraPlant. I was skeptical before I tried them because other such exotic impatiens didn't perform very well. However, the Mississippi State University experiment station in Poplarville had tremendous success with these.
I tried them myself in both flowerbeds and containers and was stunned. These are beautiful plants that performed exceedingly well in our heat and humidity.
The Fusion series produces flowers that resemble seashells or triangular-shaped cups with bi-colored centers. In addition to the different shape for impatiens, the colors are also unique. Fusion Glow is an impatiens variety that has everyone talking. The blossoms are yellow with an orange and yellow bi-colored center.
The colors in the series are hard to describe. There is Fusion Heat with a rusty-orange flower and a yellow center. Fusion Radiance is coral with a rusty red center. Fusion Infrared is dark coral with yellow and orange, and Fusion Sunset is apricot with reddish maroon.
These plants have the capability of showing off in your landscape from today until the first frost, so give them a proper home. Choose a site with morning sun and afternoon shade or high-filtered shade. Prepare your bed by incorporating 3 to 4 inches of organic matter to raise the beds and give good drainage.
As you till, work in 2 pounds of a slow-release, balanced fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed space. These exotic impatiens reach 12 to 16 inches in height and as wide. Set out at the proper spacing and plant at the same depth they were growing in the container.
Fusion impatiens with their tropical fruit colors combine wonderfully with foliage plants like ferns and hostas, and would be perfect as understory plantings near gingers, bananas and elephant ears. They also look very showy planted in front of evergreen shrubs such as hollies, viburnums or ligustrums.
If you have blue-to-purple hydrangeas in a bed, then the Fusion impatiens would be incredible in front giving a look that some might call gaudy while others would just stare in wonderment that we now have plants that could create that combination.
Keep them mulched, watered and fed every six to eight weeks with light applications of a slow-release, balanced fertilizer containing minor nutrients. In late summer, should they look leggy, trim back about one-third to induce branching and new growth. Taking care of them during late summer pays huge dividends with color all fall.
Most gardeners don't recognize the plants, but I have seen Fusion impatiens at garden centers. Give them a try and more than likely, you'll get hooked like the rest of us.