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Impatiens morsei

This is one of my most beloved of all plants!  Impatiens morsei - the "Velvet Love" Impatiens - is a rare beauty from China with gorgeous, pink-striped foliage and exotic, orchid-shaped blooms.  This species is found only in a small section of Southern China, where it is becoming endangered.  It is rarely seen for sale.  Fortunately it happens to be easy to grow!

Impatiens morsei

Impatiens morsei is a perennial, evergreen species with an upright, tree-like shape to about 2 feet tall.  The leaves themselves are worth growing this plant, with their velvety, deep-green top surface, and purplish-red undersides.  The leaves have a satiny sheen which, when viewed from certain angles, appears almost black!  And to top it off, the sexy pink stripe down each leaf and stem grabs your attention from across the room!  The unusual blooms appear practically all year long for me.  Looking like some sort of sea creature, these inflated, 2-inch blossoms are decorated with bright orange and yellow markings.  This is a true species, not a cultivated hybrid.

Impatiens morsei

Impatiens morsei

Impatiens morsei was found in the highlands of Guangxi, China, at around 1,300 to 3200 feet elevation.  Temperatures there are mild year-round.  The plant should have a minimum of 50 degrees F (10 C) and at least 40% humidity.  I have no information on how much heat it can take, but it's possible that it may not thrive if temperatures are consistently above 85F (30C), particularly if nights are warm (over 65F / 18C).  It like bright, filtered light.  Protect it from strong sunlight.  Like other Impatiens, it enjoys fertile, well-draining soil that's kept evenly moist.  In the right conditions, it is an easy, low-maintenance plant.

Impatiens morsei

 

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