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Impatien mystery


By Raquel


Well, the last of the six impatiens (sultanas) that I planted in the big white pot have died…sigh! They didn’t look sick, and I watered them, fertilized them, and put some new potting soil on the surface, but nothing could stop their decline. Maybe, like Spritz suggested, the yucca had drained all the nutrients from the soil. It makes sense. It also occurred to me (although a bit late!) that the soil needs of yucca plants and impatiens are probably quite different. I can’t shake the idea that it was the soil that killed them, rather than the heat – but I have no way, of course, to prove it. Just a feeling.

As I watched their decline, it also occurred to me that the landing was too hot – and has too little air circulation – for the impatiens to thrive. My banana tree loves it, but maybe it was too much for the little plants! Impatiens do tend to wilt quickly, I was told that in El Salvador they grow by creeks, meaning that they like to be kept damp.

Another idea is that a cat or a dog did their thing there and killed them! LOL At first I thought this wasn’t possible, I had never seen an animal up on the third floor, though some owners do let their pets – mostly cats – wander the property. I have seen owners take their dogs for a walk and let them off the leash. Last Friday my neighbor opened the door of her apartment just to have a pregnant black cat dart in! She couldn’t get it out, and had to call the Houston SPCA to come and get it out. The cat lives on the second floor, so now I know it is entirely possible for feline and canine friends to be wandering around my flowers! Maybe they committed planticide…. =)

In any case, I – having a stubborn streak – don’t want to give up on having impatiens, so I took one of the old clay pots – the one someone cleaned up for me – and washed it, put in freshly bought potting soil, and planted a red impatien in it. I put it next to and under the Boston fern. The fern gives it shade, but being on the balcony gives it lots of air as well. I put a clay saucer underneath as well, and so far, so good – the impatien is doing well! It has not wilted yet. We’ll see how it does for the remainder of the summer.

Now my only problem is finding a plant that likes the heat, and does not need too much air circulation and LOVES the shade…I have another clay pot that’s empty, and would like to us eit – but it needs to stay with the banana tree, as it helps to keep it from tipping over. All and any suggestions welcome! =)

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Sometimes Impatiens can suddenly fail. I've had the same problem in the past.What type of plant food did you use? Sometimes they get 'indigestion' through over - feeding as well and just flop and die.

22 Jul, 2008


Hi Grenville - what a coincidence! I was just reading your blog on the mayor and lady mayoress (?) visit to your garden - and you do have a beautiful home, that table set for tea looks delicious!

I gave the impatiens an organic fertilizer called "Rose Food" but which is supposed to be good for all flowering plants - I didn't know that about the over-feeding, I guess I'll have to watch it - how strange, I had always thought impatiens were hardy plants and now they turn out to be all delicate!

They are some of my favorite plants though in part because I remember how as a child I used to burst open the seed pods with glee and watch the seeds scatter! =)

22 Jul, 2008

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