Impatiens are flowering plants that maintain a low profile. Mature Impatiens typically grow to be about 20 inches tall and spread out up to 24 inches, depending on the variety. Impatiens are low-maintenance and generally do not require much pruning or deadheading, but trimming the plant can rejuvenate growth and maintain a neat appearance.
Trimming a plant to promote growth can seem counterintuitive, but learning how to correctly prune Impatiens will encourage more growth and more flowers. It is not always necessary to trim Impatiens, and we explain what to look for so you understand when and how to prune Impatiens.
When to Prune Impatiens
Impatiens can be pruned at any time during the growing season. Typically, Impatiens may need a trim around midsummer when the plant may start to appear leggy. Leggy means the stems grow longer and appear spindly, and there is extended space between leaves. Leggy plants may also produce fewer flowers.
Pruning a leggy Impatiens will remove the lanky parts while promoting new, dense growth and more flowers. Pinching back new growth throughout the growing season can prevent the plant from becoming leggy, but if the plant maintains a full and lush appearance naturally, then pruning is unnecessary.
Spent flowers naturally fall away from Impatiens, but you can remove them. Pinching off spent flowers allows the plant to redirect energy into new buds so that the plant will be a more productive bloomer with some assistance. Dead growth can be removed from Impatiens at any time. Use a clean pair of pruning shears or scissors to cut away dead growth in its entirety.
Why Prune Impatiens
We recommend pruning Impatiens to prevent the plant from looking overgrown. Cutting back an overgrown or leggy plant will promote new growth and ultimately make the plant look bushy. Taking a proactive approach and routinely trimming will encourage flowering and healthier branching and lead to a more dense plant. Pinching back new growth will cause the plant to push out new stems or branches in other areas, which will result in more foliage and flowers.
How to Prune Impatiens
Step 1 - Look at the overall plant
Look to see if the plant is overgrown or leggy.
Step 2 - Trim scraggly or leggy branches
Cut back stems that have sparse growth. Never remove more than ⅓ of the plant or cut the stems to less than 3 inches.
Step 3 - Remove dead or damaged growth
Cut back any parts of the plant that have dead growth or brown foliage.
Remove sections of stems below a spent flower. Deadheading will prevent the branches from growing longer and force the plant to push out new growth further back on the stem, creating a bushier plant.
Impatiens Pruning Tips
- Deadhead the plant, or remove spent flowers
- Cut back sections of stems with sparse growth to encourage more branching and flowers
- Remove dead growth at any time
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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 10-01-2022