When it comes to adding gorgeous color to the shadier locations of your home and landscape, it doesn’t get much better than growing impatiens – especially when you can keep them flowering big and strong all summer long with the right dose of fertilizer!
Impatiens produce hundreds of small blooms and can be found in just about any color you can imagine. The prolific bloomers are a favorite among gardeners, not just for their beauty, but for their ease of care.
In addition, they also happen to be one of the few annuals that bloom with vigor in the shade. Whether it’s under a front porch, a canopy of trees, or on a shaded back deck or patio, impatiens are perfect for growing anywhere sun-loving annuals struggle to bloom and thrive.
But as beautiful as impatiens can be, without a little help in the form of extra power, they will often start to struggle as the summer season plays out. Not just with a decline in blooms, but with fading foliage as well.
Fertilizing – How To Keep Impatiens Flowering
The good news is that this is exactly where fertilizing your impatiens can save the day. But, and this is key, what you use for fertilizer, and how you apply it will both make a big difference between keeping your impatiens flowering strong – or having plants that might be heading to the compost bin long before the blooming season should be over!
All plants use the resources and nutrients found in the soil in order to produce new foliage and blooms. But as the growing season goes along, those resources can quickly disappear. And if those nutrients are not replenished in some fashion, the plants will start to suffer.
Potted plants and hanging baskets are especially at risk of this issue. Since there is only a limited amount of soil in containers, the plants, especially strong flowering annuals like impatiens, use up the resources extremely fast.
But even when planted in flowerbeds, impatiens still require a fair amount of energy to bloom. And without regular doses of fertilizer, even with the additional soil reserves found in the soil of flowerbeds, they will still begin to struggle.
The Best Fertilizers To Use – How To Keep Impatiens Flowering
Fertilizers come in all sorts of materials and styles. From granules to liquids to sticks, the options are almost overwhelming.
When it comes to flowering annuals like impatiens, liquid fertilizers are the best option. They absorb quickly into the roots and leaves of a plant. This helps to deliver nutrients fast, helping to keep plants fed as needed.
Commercial Liquid Fertilizers
You can use any all-purpose liquid fertilizer that has a fair balance of nitrogen (N), phosphate (P), and potassium (K). Try to avoid fertilizers that have more nitrogen that phosphate and potassium. Nitrogen powers foliage, while potassium will power more blooms.
Phosphate, meanwhile, also powers overall growth and cell development. An equal balance of all three is more than fine, but some liquid fertilizers will have more potassium (often they are called bloom boosters) to help power more flowers. These are actually great for impatiens. Affiliate Product Link : Bloom Booster Fertilizer
If you are looking for an incredible natural fertilizer, consider using compost tea. This organic, easy to make liquid fertilizer is the perfect alternative to feed your impatiens and other annuals.
Compost tea is a simple mixture of compost and water that is allowed to seep together over a few days. It helps to provide plants with vital nutrients that are easily absorbed throughout the entire surface of the plant. Both above on leaves, and below the soil line in the roots.
To learn more about compost tea as well as how to make and use your own throughout your garden and flowerbeds, be sure to check out our article: How To Make And Use Compost Tea.
Properly Applying Fertilizers – How To Keep Impatiens Flowering
If you follow the instructions on commercial liquid fertilizers, you will likely end up with a large dose of nutrients all at once. This will result in an increase in foliage and root growth as opposed to allowing plants to put resources towards creating new blooms.
Instead, low and slow is the single biggest key to success when fertilizing impatiens. This will avoid too much overgrowing, yet still keep them flowering all season long. In addition, if you are inconsistent with applying fertilizers, your impatiens will suffer and struggle to produce a steady stream of blooms.
Use commercial liquid fertilizers at half the recommended dose on the package. Apply this lower dose once every one to two weeks. This will provide plants with a low but steady dose of nutrients that will not overpower them.
You can also apply compost tea a bit more often than commercial fertilizers. You can use compost tea at full strength as its nutrients are more subtle and do not overwhelm plants.
No matter which fertilizing option you choose, apply them early in the morning before the heat of the day kicks in. This reduces the chance of burning delicate plant foliage. You can spray compost tea over the leaves of impatiens as well as at the base of plants. Commercial fertilizers, as long as marked for foliar application on the package, can also be sprayed on plants.
Adding Worm Castings – How To Keep Impatiens Flowering
Another great way to boost the nutrients in the soil around your impatiens and other annuals is by using worm castings. Worm castings can be use along with regular liquid fertilizing for additional power.(Product Link: Wiggle Worm 100% Organic Worm Castings)
Worm castings are the byproducts that worms leave behind after chewing through the soil. The result is a product that is high in nutrients but breaks down slowly. This allows the nutrients to absorb into the soil over time instead of all at once.
To use worm castings, add about a fourth of a cup of castings to the soil for each impatiens plant. Every time you water, the castings will slowly leech the nutrients into the soil. Add the worm castings once a month to provide continual power to your impatiens.
By fertilizing your impatiens slowly and at low doses =and with the right punch of power – you can keep your plants flowering big right up until your first frost!
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