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Impatiens cinnabarina

Impatiens cinnabarina

 

Plant the seeds right away for best germination

Getting started -- You may plant the seeds in individual, small containers.  Or you plant them all in a single container, but the roots may be difficult to separate later when you transplant them.

This species prefers a well-draining soil that is high in organic matter.  A typical mix is 3 parts potting soil to 2 parts perlite (or coarse horticultural sand).  It is also helpful to add a dash of agricultural lime or dolomite lime (not hydrated or quick lime).  This is to simulate the limestone terrain that this Impatiens comes from.  Add only 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliter) of lime per gallon (4 liters) of soil, mixed in well.  You may skip the lime if your tap water is high in minerals ("hard water").

Fill the pots with soil, and water it so it is uniformly moist (but not soggy). Place a seed on top of each pot, and gently press it so that the seed is partly in the soil, but still able to receive some light, which helps the seeds germinate.

Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the surface soil doesn't dry out. A propagation dome or plastic bag may be used to maintain humidity, but leave it open slightly to allow some fresh air in.  The seeds need some light to germinate, such as a fluorescent bulb that is a hand's length away. They sprout well at about 65 to 75 degrees F (18-24C).  I have not germinated them outside this temperature range.  If you use a heat mat, check the soil temperature to ensure that the roots don't overheat.

The seeds should start germinating in 3 to 5 weeks, but allow up to 8 weeks for any slow ones to sprout, especially at cooler temperatures.

Lighting -- Impatiens cinnabarina usually looks best in bright shade, or filtered sunlight. It can handle more sun than that, but it will need more fertilizer and water.

Watering -- Try to keep the soil moist, but not soggy, most of the time. You may use a moisture meter probe to monitor the moisture levels down in the root zone.

Climate -- This Impatiens prefers mild temperatures.  In warmer areas, give it plenty of shade and moisture. Protect from freezing temperatures. The humidity should be above about 40%. Indoors, if the humidity is too low, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, which you can buy at places like Home Depot and thrift shops.

 Fertilizing - For the first 6 weeks, give a very light dose of liquid fertilizer (about 1/8 strength) once a week.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for young seedlings, since it is easily absorbed and complete.  After 6 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer if you wish.

 It's normal for older leaves to occasionally turn yellow and drop, but if it seems excessive, check that the soil isn't too dry down in the root zone.  If it's moist, the plant may need more fertilizer.

Transplanting -- When your plants are 2 months old, you may gently transfer them to a larger pot.  Water the soil first, and avoid letting the soil ball break apart. After transplanting, avoid packing the soil down, and do not fertilize or give sun the first week.

Pests to watch for -- aphids, scale (dark disks on the stems), mealy bugs.  Be careful when choosing chemical remedies, because some may harm the plant.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 

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