The Garden Junkie

The Garden Junkie

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Impatiens fall victim to mildew

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - It will be different in 2013. We will be seeing less of one of the most popular bedding plants used in landscapes-garden impatiens. 

In fact some New York greenhouse growers who produced thousands of flats in past years will not be growing any this spring. It's all due to a new disease of impatiens called downy mildew. This devastating water mold (related to late blight of potatoes and tomatoes) became widespread through much of the country over the last two years. 

When it shows up it can cause a beautiful flowering mound of impatiens to be a bare stand of stems in a week's time. 

One of the challenges with this disease is that it's airborne and even if the impatiens plants that a landscaper installs in a client's property are completely healthy when they are planted, the disease can move in from windblown spores and in a short time ruin the planting. 

This happened at some locations in NY late in the summers of 2011 and 2012, most of the landscapers that had plantings affected by this disease are planning to use alternative plants this year. 

Some plants that landscapers may consider as a substitute for garden impatiens: 
o Annual Vinca
o Begonia (both wax and the new angel wing varieties)
o Browellia
o Coleus
o Lobelia
o New Guinea impatiens 
o Sunpatiens
o Torena