Growing Balsam / Impatiens indoors
If you are looking for low maintenance, easy growing and multi colored blooms then you should try Impatiens (Balsam). The best thing about Impatiens is that it can be grown under low light conditions. The name Impatiens comes from its seed bursting nature on a touch. The slightest touch to Impatiens ripe pod (fruit) can induce bursting of seeds out of the pod. Impatiens grows 12- 18 inches tall generally. They come in different shades of red, orange, pink and white.
Impatiens can be propagated from seeds and stem cuttings. Sow seeds in a small container having good potting mixture and water it. Buy good quality balsam seeds.
Impatiens can be rooted in water also. Take a 3-6 inches stem cutting having at least two leaf nodes (joint on stem where leaf comes) and remove all leaves except 2-3 leaves on top. Pinch the stem tip and remove buds if present on the cutting. Now place the cutting in a vase of water and keep the vase in bright location which receives indirect sunlight. Change the vase water every other day. Once the rooting has occurred, transplant the sapling in container.
To root Impatiens cuttings in soil, take a stem cutting as mentioned above. Make a hole using a pencil or finger in potting soil to insert cutting easily. Before inserting, you can dip cuttings in rooting hormone or honey. Water it and put the planting tray or container in bright location. It will take couple of weeks to a month to get cuttings rooted.
Impatiens cutting can be rooted in water too.
Impatiens makes a good container or hanging basket plant. Select a small to medium sized container as Impatiens doesn’t grow much tall. Make sure that the container is having adequate numbers of drainage holes to let water out of the container as Impatiens doesn’t like to stand in water.
Impatiens likes well drained, humus rich moist soil. Loamy soil is ideal for planting. You can add perlite and peat moss to loosen up the soil.
Sun / Temperature
As mentioned , Impatiens is the houseplant which can be grown under low light conditions outdoors and requires moderate light when grown indoors ( inside the home). They can’t stand low temperature (frost), that’s why they are grown as annuals.
Water them regularly. Keep the soil moist but don’t make it soggy by over watering it. Water until water runs out the container and water again when soil feels dry on touch.
Feed Impatiens with liquid fertilizer used for flowering plants once a month. Some gardeners prefer feeding twice a month with liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Never over fertilize as it will result in more foliage and less blooms.
Keep an eye for spider mites, aphids etc. Pinch the branch’s top to take out stem tip; it would induce formation of side branches and give the plant bushy look which will result in more blooms ultimately.
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