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Impatiens sodenii 'Flash'

Impatiens sodenii 'Flash'

Germinating the seeds


 

When to plant -- Plant your seeds when you receive them for best germination.

Getting started -- You may plant each seed in individual, small containers.  Or you plant them all in a single container, but it may be more difficult to transplant them later.  Either way, use pots with drainage holes.

 For soil, use a well draining mix high in organic matter.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse sand.  An alternate mix is 1 part perlite to 1 part coir fiber, with some slow-release fertilizer mixed in. 

 Gently place a seed in each pot (or if using a communal pot, space them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from each other).  If you have long-fiber sphagnum moss (not ground peat moss), sprinkle a very thin layer on top.  This helps retain moisture around the seeds while allowing light to reach them, which aids germination.  This photo shows how much moss to use.  If you do not have sphagnum moss, sprinkle some perlite or vermiculite on top.  Add water until everything is evenly moist (but not soggy).

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the surface soil always stays moist.  A plastic dome or bag is good for maintaining moisture, but leave it open a crack to allow some fresh air in.  You may need to drip a few drops of water every day to keep the sphagnum moss and soil moist. 

 The ideal temperature for germination is between 65 to 76 degrees F (18-23C).  A little cooler at night is ok.  Avoid letting them get above 78 F (26C).  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.

 A fluorescent bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light.  Protect from direct sun. 

 They should start germinating in 3 to 5 weeks, but allow up to 8 weeks for any slow ones to sprout.  Increase air ventilation slightly after sprouting to prevent rot, but continue keeping the soil surface moist for 3 weeks after sprouting.

Growing onward...

Lighting -- This Impatiens prefers bright shade, or filtered sunlight.  Avoid strong afternoon sun.

Fertilizing -- For the first month, it's best to use a liquid fertilizer using a very dilute dose (1/8 strength).  Hydroponic fertilizer works well for this, because it is easily absorbed and complete.  After the first month, feed about every 2 months with a slow-release (pelleted or organic) fertilizer, or feed monthly with a liquid fertilizer at half strength.

 It's normal for a leaf to occasionally turn yellow and drop, but if it seems excessive, the soil may be too dry down in the root zone, or the plant may need more nitrogen fertilizer.

Transplanting -- When your plants are 2-3 months old, you may gently transfer them to a larger pot.  Water the soil first, and avoid letting the soil ball break apart, which can damage the roots.  After transplanting, give no sun or liquid fertilizer the first week.

Watering -- Aim to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Never let it dry out completely.  You may use a moisture meter probe to monitor the moisture levels down in the root zone.

Climate --
Like many Impatiens, it is happiest in moderate daytime temperatures and cooler nights.  It might not thrive if temperatures consistently get over about 85 degrees F (29 C) and nights are warm.  I don't think it can survive below 30 degrees F (-1 C).  You may save the seeds each year and grow the plant as an annual.

 Above about 40-50% humidity is best.  If your indoor humidity drops too low, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, which you can buy at home improvement stores and thrift shops.

Pests to watch for -- aphids, scale (dark disks on the stems), mealy bugs.  Start with insecticidal soap before using stronger remedies.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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