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The information presented on this page was originally released on March 2, 2011. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Sun-loving Sunpatiens bloom through summer
Several years ago, a group of hybrid impatiens was developed, offering bright flowers and interesting foliage in the hot summer sun. Sunpatiens’ superior performance in the landscape earned them the status of Mississippi Medallion winner for 2011.
(top) Compact lilac Sunpatiens are great in flowering combination containers. These outstanding, tight-branching plants require little pruning.
(bottom) Sunpatiens are hybrid impatiens that thrive through the hottest parts of summer. They flower from spring until fall’s first frosts. (Photos by Gary Bachman)
For years, gardeners have enjoyed New Guinea impatiens, the flowering annuals that add a special touch to the landscape. But they had to be planted in the shade because they don’t tolerate the hot summer sun.
But through the miracle of breeding, hybrid Sunpatiens were developed to thrive during the hottest parts of the summer season. They flower from spring until the first frosts in the fall. Their landscape performance for the past several years has been monitored in the Mississippi State University trial gardens at Crystal Springs, and they qualified as a Mississippi Medallion winner.
The Mississippi Medallion program was started in 1996 to promote awareness of outstanding garden and landscape plants for growers, retailers and the gardening public. Fifty-eight plants have been selected as Mississippi Medallion winners. The program is sponsored by MSU, the Mississippi Nursery and Landscape Association and the Mississippi Plant Selection committee.
Sunpatiens seem to flaunt their brilliant flower colors and heat tolerance. There are 15 Sunpatiens selections available in three different growth categories. Vigorous Sunpatiens have variegated coral, lavender, magenta, orange, red and white flower colors. You can’t beat this plant’s ability to quickly fill in large landscape beds.
The compact series has flower colors of blush pink, deep rose, coral, white, lilac, orange and magenta. Compact Sunpatiens are a great choice for flowering combination containers. These outstanding, tight-branching plants require little pruning.
The spreading series has flowers of variegated white and variegated salmon. The foliage is a beautiful creamy yellow with bright green edges. It is the perfect spiller plant in hanging baskets, and it is also great for growing singly in big containers.
Sunpatiens require consistent moisture during the summer months. Use a soaker hose in the landscape bed to keep these plants happy during the hottest temperatures.
Plant your Sunpatiens late in the spring for your gardening region in Mississippi. This allows the root system to become well established and increases the plants’ summer tolerance before high temperatures come rolling in.
Always plant in good, loose soil, or use good potting mix for containers. Amend high clay soils with good-quality compost to increase drainage. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of slow-release fertilizer around the plants when you set them out. Every couple of weeks, include a 20-10-20 or 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer as you water your Sunpatiens to keep them growing strong and blooming through the summer.
Plant Sunpatiens in your garden, and they will provide landscape interest all summer long.