"Velvet Love" Impatiens
Please note - It is normal for Impatiens to drop a few leaves during shipping. It will quickly re-grow more once it is settled.
Pot size -- Transfer your plant to a pot approximately 1 quart to 1/2 gallon in size. Use a pot with drainage holes. After a few months, when the plant has rooted through, it can go in a 1 gallon pot, which will hold it for at least a few months. Eventually it may need a 2-3 gallon container.
Soil -- Impatiens morsei likes rich soil that is loose and drains very well. A good soil mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse horticultural sand (or pumice). If your tap water is "soft", meaning low in minerals, i recommend adding a dash of agricultural lime (= dolomite lime.. not hydrated or quick lime). This is to simulate the limestone terrain that Impatiens morsei comes from. Only add approximately 1 teaspoon of lime per gallon of soil mix. If your potting soil contains fertilizer, you do not need to add fertilizer - otherwise mix in some slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer.
Transplanting -- If the soil is dry, water it before repotting. This is to keep the soil ball from breaking apart, which can damage the roots. After transplanting, don't pack the soil down, and give no fertilizer or direct sunlight the first week.
If the leaves should wilt after repotting, cover it with a plastic bag that has a dime-sized hole in it. Make the hole a little bigger each day. After a week you should be able to remove the bag.
Watering -- Try to keep the soil moist most of the time - but not soggy. Don't let the soil dry out completely. You may wish to use a moisture meter probe, which you can buy for about $5 at most garden and hardware stores. Don't let the pot sit in a tray of water.
Lighting -- Impatiens morsei prefers bright shade, or well-filtered sunlight. Avoid prolonged direct sun, unless it's early-morning or late-afternoon sun.
Climate -- the plant should be given temperatures above 50 degrees, which means it needs to stay indoors in most parts of the country. If your room humidity is under 40%, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, which you can buy at places like Home Depot and thrift shops. I am not sure how much heat this species can take. If your plant doesn't appear to be thriving, the temperature may be too high. The plant will not survive frost.
Fertilizing -- Your Impatiens likes average amounts of fertilizer. Feed about every 4 weeks during periods of active growth using an all-purpose fertilizer at 1/4 the recommended dosage. It's normal for an older leaf to occasionally turn yellow and drop, but if it seems excessive, the plant may need more fertilizer, particularly nitrogen. Also check that the soil is moist enough down in the root zone.
Pruning -- This species takes on a Christmas tree shape and there is normally no need to prune it. If you choose to prune it, avoid removing more than 10-20% of the branches per week.
Pests to watch for -- aphids, spider mites (tiny "dots" and webbing under the leaves), whitefly, mealy bugs. Certain spider mites cannot be seen but cause deformities of the young leaves. Be careful when choosing chemical remedies, because some may harm the plant.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me.
Enjoy your plant!
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