SunPatiens® is a more vigorous variety of “impatiens” a popular color choice in the garden for decades. SunPatiens® sometimes called “sun impatiens” perform in full sun or shade, high heat, and other difficult weather, keeping your garden or patio beautiful almost year-round.
Like all impatiens, they need water and fertilizer, but no other special care. Sunpatiens plants continue to grow and flower where others don’t, establishing quicker, with stronger roots and more vigorous growth.
Each plant has a strong, sturdy frame that supports the plant in wind and rain. A single plant covers a large area without any need for replanting during the season.
Ready to learn more about Sunpatiens? Read On!
Impatiens Sunpatiens (sun-PAY-shuns) is a hybrid of the New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri), a strain intended to tolerate a great deal of heat and humidity. The Sunpatiens is an improvement on the original plant. This hybrid is able to thrive in hot, humid climates and can be planted in full sun or shade.
Vigorous Sunpatiens plant is sometimes referred to as New Guinea impatiens, but it is more properly called by its patented name.
Like New Guinea impatiens, Sunpatiens are:
- More robust growers with a strong root system
- Have strong, sturdy stems with a mounding, shrub-like growth habit
- Dark green, tough foliage
- Larger flowers create a showy, striking massive color display in summer flower beds
… and are overall better plants for use as a ground cover or as a bedding plant over the more traditional garden impatiens (Impatiens walleriana).
All impatiens are members of the Balsaminaceae (ball-sam-in-AY-see-eye) family of plants.
What is the Difference Between SunPatiens and Impatiens?
Impatiens Sunpatiens was developed by the Sakata Seed Company of Japan. Their researcher’s carefully combined traditional impatiens, hailing from Indonesia with Impatiens hawkeri (im-PAY-shuns HAWK-er-eye) which is a much larger plant. The cross produced a long-blooming, hardy plant available in several sizes and a wide variety of bloom colors.
Are SunPatiens annual or perennial?
They are kept as perennials indoors or in tropical climates. In colder climates, they may be grown as annuals outdoors.
Size & Growth
Sunpatiens plants come in three basic sizes:
- Compact Sunpatiens can grow to be about two-and-a-half feet high.
- Spreading can attain heights of about three feet.
- Vigorous may grow to be three-and-a-half feet high.
The colorful leaves may be dark green, bronze or variegated. They grow in three-to-seven leaf whorls. Leaves may be oval or elliptical and grow to be between two and four inches long.
SunPatiens Compact Series
The SunPatiens Compact Series were bred and designed for retail appeal. The compact series do well in smaller containers and feature shorter internodes they also produce excellent branching.
The Compact Sunpatiens Series consists of about 10 cultivars:
- SunPatiens® Compact White ‘SAKIMP027’ PP24,320
- SunPatiens® Compact Royal Magenta ‘SAKIMP029’ PPAF
- SunPatiens® Compact Orchid Blush ‘SAKIMP054’ US10,477,799
- SunPatiens® Compact Tropical Rose ‘SAKIMP037’ PP28,027
- SunPatiens® Compact Electric Orange ‘SAKIMP025’ PP24,675
- SunPatiens® Compact Deep Rose ‘SAKIMP017’ PP21,753
- SunPatiens® Compact Fire Red ‘SAKIMP039’ PP28,590
- SunPatiens® Compact Blush Pink ‘SAKIMP013’ PP19,597
- SunPatiens® Compact Pink Candy ‘SAKIMP046’ US10,238,067
- SunPatiens® Compact Hot Coral ‘SAKIMP026’ PPAF
- SunPatiens® Compact Neon Pink ‘SAKIMP033’ PPAF
The spreading varieties are good as potted and container plants. Compact types are fairly self contained. The spreading type does well in a hanging basket as it will spread and dangle prettily over the sides.
The vigorous variety is a good choice for garden flower beds. These plants grow quickly and fill empty space enthusiastically.
Flowering & Fragrance
Sunpatiens flowers freely from May through October. Its showy flowers are large and come in shades of :
There is no need to deadhead the 5-petaled flowers as new flowers quickly cover spent ones.
Light & Temperature
Do impatiens do well in full sun?
These hardy plants do well in full sun and can tolerate part shade.
Sunpatiens are winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12. They thrive in temperatures ranging from 40° – 95° degrees Fahrenheit. They can survive in temperatures ranging from 32° – 110° degrees Fahrenheit.
Although they can survive at 32° degrees Fahrenheit, this sort of exposure is to be avoided. More than an hour or two at freezing temperatures will kill the plant because its leaves and stems are so filled with water. If frozen, the water expands and the plants’ cells burst.
If a plant is partially damaged by freezing, the damaged parts can be trimmed away. If the roots and main stems have remained undamaged, the plant will regenerate.
In heat over 100° degrees Fahrenheit, Sunpatiens will wilt. Be sure to provide extra water to protect the plant. Extended periods of high heat may slow down blooming.
Watering & Feeding
Be sure to keep Sunpatiens well watered for the first couple of weeks after planting in the landscape or repotting. Once established, these plants only need moderate watering.
If your potting medium contains fertilizer, you do not need to provide more. If not, provide balanced slow release, or a diluted solution of liquid fertilizer. Half strength should be just about right. Be careful not to over-fertilize.
Soil & Transplanting
In containers or in the landscape, Sunpatiens prefers a light, airy soil that contains a great deal of organic material. Provide a layer of several inches of mulch to help retain moisture.
In the landscape, group several plants together for the best presentation. Individual plants within the grouping should be about 16″ inches apart.
Grooming & Maintenance
Regular trimming is not necessary as old blooms and leaves die back and new ones take their place naturally.
Compact and spreading varieties don’t tend to overgrow and usually do not need to be pruned at all.
Vigorous varieties may get leggy toward the end of the summer. If this happens, trim back the top third of the plant.
Sunpatiens can be grown from cuttings, but you must understand that you can only use these cuttings yourself. You cannot sell them because this is a patented plant.
Follow standard procedures for taking and rooting Impatiens cuttings. When propagating by cuttings, the new plants will be true to the parents.
How to Take Cuttings From New Guinea Impatiens
It is possible to grow Sunpatiens from the seeds of the parent plant, but this is a challenge, as Impatiens generally don’t produce many seeds. Furthermore, seeds of hybrids do not tend to grow true to the parent, so you might end up with an entirely different sort of Impatiens in the end.
If you do want to try growing your Sunpatiens from seed, you would sow the small seeds on the surface of the soil, either in a seed tray indoors late in winter or directly into the garden bed after all danger of frost has passed.
Sunpatiens Pest or Disease Problems
When kept indoors, Sunpatiens may be subject to damage by aphids and/or red spider mites. Pay close attention to watering, sun exposure, and humidity to avoid these problems with Sunpatiens and other houseplants.
Outdoors, your Sunpatiens may fall prey to slugs, which will chew holes in the juicy leaves. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the soil around your plants to deter slugs and snails.
Caterpillars (especially the larvae of the Impatiens Hawkeye moth) are also quite fond of Sunpatiens’ leaves. An application of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) early in the springtime can prevent this sort of damage.
Sunpatiens is bred and selected to be resistant to downy mildew and other diseases. However, too much water can cause fungal infection and root and stem rot on any plant. Provide soil with good drainage, and take care not to overwater or overcrowd your plants so that mold and mildew will not have a chance to take hold.
If a fungal infection does set in, dispose of plants that are very badly affected. Prune back damaged leaves and stems on plants that are only partially affected. Treat plants with a fungicide.
Add soil amendments (e.g. sand, humus, etc.) to improve the soil drainage.
Are Impatiens considered toxic or poisonous to people, kids, pets?
As a type of Impatiens, Sunpatiens is non-toxic to cats and dogs.
Is the Sunpatiens Considered Invasive?
Although not listed as invasive, Sunpatiens do have the potential to self seed and return (perhaps in a different hybrid form) year after year in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12. For this reason, it’s wise to keep an eye on them and prevent them from unwanted spread.
Suggested Sunpatiens Uses
These hardy, colorful, easy-care plants are a great choice for a wide variety of home and garden settings. As a potted houseplant or hanging basket, the compact and the spreading varieties are lovely.
As a groundcover and/or bedding plant, vigorous varieties provide quick coverage and color.
All varieties of Impatiens Sunpatiens are excellent performers as container plants on the porch, around the patio or at the poolside.