Propagating Impatiens

Impatiens are some of the easiest flowering landscape plants to grow and are known for their effortless ability to add bold color to often shady corners of an outdoor space. These plants thrive with little care but respond well to pruning, prompting them to return even bigger and better. Impatiens are versatile and can be planted in containers, hanging baskets, mixed beds, or borders, making a stunning groundcover. 

These flowering plants are perennials in zones 10 through 11 and are often grown as annuals in other areas. Propagating impatiens enables you to expand your collection if you live in a warm climate or to keep a steady supply of this flowering beauty on hand for use next year.


Methods To Propagate Impatiens

Propagate impatiens through seed or cuttings. You can purchase seeds or collect them from existing plants. Growing impatiens from seed is easy, but it takes a long time. Stem cuttings are an easy and effective way to propagate impatiens. Select a stem without flowers to propagate. Impatiens cuttings should measure 3 - 6 inches long and feature at least two nodes. Impatiens can be propagated in water or soil. 

What You Need To Propagate Impatiens

Always use clean pruning shears to take cuttings. Each cutting should measure at least several inches long. You can propagate impatiens cuttings in water, in which case you need a vessel like a jar or vase. Clear glass is ideal for observing the root growth without disturbing the cutting. Rich, well-drained potting mix is also a suitable potting medium. Cuttings dipped in rooting hormone may form roots sooner, but it is not mandatory. Several impatiens cuttings can be rooted in a single 6-inch container.

Best Time To Propagate Impatiens

In most areas, impatiens grown from seed will need to be started inside in winter to be ready to go outside by spring. Seeds only germinate in warm environments, and it takes time for the plants to grow big enough to handle life outdoors. Plants propagated early in the growing season can be part of an outdoor landscape, while plants propagated indoors can thrive in the warmth until spring rolls around.

Steps To Propagate Impatiens

Step 1 - Select an impatiens stem that does not have flowers. Trim a stem section measuring 3 - 6 inches long.

Step 2 - Remove the lower leaves, exposing the nodes.

Step 3 - Fill a vessel with water or prepare a container with rich, well-drained soil.

Step 4 - Dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone if you have it. Place the cutting in the prepared container. 

Step 5 - Place the impatiens cuttings in a warm, sunny spot out of direct light.

Step 6 - For cuttings in water, refresh the water every week or whenever the water appears cloudy. Keep soil-propagated cuttings damp but not saturated.

Caring For Young Impatiens Cuttings

Cuttings need bright, indirect sunlight when propagated indoors. Impatiens cuttings propagated outside should stay in partial shade. Water soil-propagated cuttings when the top layer of the potting mix is dry. Cuttings rooted in water will need fresh water at least once a week. Cuttings need about two to four weeks to form roots. Impatiens propagated indoors during the winter can be transplanted into a larger container as they grow. Transplant the young impatiens outside after there is no longer a chance of frost.


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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 12-13-2023