Discovered in the subtropical highlands of Australian New Guinea in 1970, today's New Guinea Impatiens hybrids are a result of extensive breeding between 25 diverse species. Flowers in pink, red, white, orange, salmon, and several bicolours and can exceed 8cm.
These are often vivid shades over foliage that can be green, burgundy or brightly variegated. The latest hybrids just released this year from the USA are softer pastels over glossy green leaves on robust plants especially bred for hardiness. These are not common Busy Lizzys but a new breed demanding different care for success.
New Guineas prefer temperate warmth. Damage occurs below 7 degrees and flowering can stop if temperatures pass 30. Shelter from hot and cold winds. They need plenty of water, especially in warm weather. Avoid over watering tender, young plants or during cold weather.
Feed with a complete soluble plant food weekly but lightly to avoid burning. Give them plenty of light for robust growth, good leaf colour and maximum bloom. Bright morning sun, dappled shade or a sheltered southern exposure are ideal.
Use for summer bedding, as a splash of colour in the shrub border, or as exotic container and basket plants outdoors and in the sunroom or conservatory.
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