Impatiens Plant Companions – What To Plant With Impatiens In The Garden

Impatiens Plant Companions – What To Plant With Impatiens In The Garden

By: Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

Impatiens are a long-time favorite for adding splashes of color to shady beds. Blooming from spring until frost, impatiens can fill in the gaps between bloom times of shade perennials. Growing in little mounds no larger than one foot (0.5 m.) tall and two feet (0.5 m.) wide, impatiens can be tucked into bare areas in the shade garden. Their compact habit also makes them great for shady bedding plants or borders.

Companion Planting with Impatiens

Before getting into what to plant with impatiens, let me tell you what impatiens bring to the table as companion plants. Impatiens attract beneficial insects. As stated above, they add long lasting, vibrant color to dark shady areas, and make excellent borders.

Impatiens’ fleshy, succulent-like stems store water and make them drought resistant, so they do not compete with other plants for water and can be used in dry shade beds. As companion plants, the dense foliage of impatiens can keep the soil moist and cool for its companions.

Companion Plants for Impatiens

An old-fashioned favorite in the South is pairing impatiens with azaleas. Other shrub companion plants for impatiens are:

  • Rhododendrons
  • Holly
  • Boxwood
  • Yews
  • Fothergilla
  • Sweetspire
  • Camellia
  • Hydrangea
  • Daphne
  • Kerria
  • Japanese pieris
  • Mountain laurel
  • Summersweet
  • Witch hazel
  • Spikenard

Older landscapes tend to just have yews or boxwoods planted in shady areas around the house. While it’s nice to have that evergreen effect throughout the winter, these beds can be quite boring in the summer when all the others are full of blooms. Impatiens can border these monotonous evergreen beds, adding the pop of color they need.

In shade containers or flower borders, these make lovely companion plants for impatiens:

  • Asparagus fern
  • Sweet potato vine
  • Coleus
  • Caladium
  • Begonia
  • Fuchsia
  • Elephant ear
  • Bacopa
  • Lobelia
  • Wishbone flower

When companion planting with impatiens, their bright pink, red, orange, and white flowers beautifully add contrast to plants with dark or yellow foliage. Some perennial impatiens plant companions with dark foliage are ajuga, coral bells, and cimicifuga. A few yellow foliage perennials that nicely contrast impatiens include Aureola Japanese forest grass and citronella heuchera.

Additional companion plants for impatiens are:

  • Columbine
  • Astilbe
  • Ferns
  • Forget-me-not
  • Hosta
  • Balloon flower
  • Bleeding heart
  • Jacob’s ladder
  • Goat’s beard
  • Monkshood
  • Turtlehead

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Read more about Impatiens

Companion Plants to Dianthus

Dianthus is an ideal rock garden plant, a great edging plant and perfect for cottage gardens. You may wonder how a single plant can be so versatile. The answer is because there are so many varieties of dianthus. Some are low-growing, making them perfect as an edging plant. Others, such as the common Sweet William, are tall plants that will work well at the back of a border or grown in combination with taller plants.

Perennial Impatiens

Growing as perennials in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9, hardy impatiens (Impatiens omeiana) grows more reliably if you plant it in a sheltered location in your garden. The yellow, bell-shaped flowers and thin dark green leaves provide a contrast with the wider and lighter-colored leaves of a smaller hosta hybrid, such as (Hosta sieboldiana “Elegans”), with flowers that stay close to its leaves. Hosta grows best in USDA zones 4 through 9.

Companion Plants to Complement Your Gardenias

Gardenias are evergreen shrubs with dark green waxy leaves with very fragrant blooms. A popular single blossom variety is Kleim's Hardy. This variety has star-shaped flowers, a wonderful fragrance and is frost-tolerant, which makes it a favorite of many gardeners.

When looking for complementary plants for your Kleim's Hardy or other gardenias consider color, height, contrasting or similar characteristics. Choosing from an assortment of plants will give your garden eye appeal. Also consider the possible functions of your gardenias in your garden.

Gardenia Functions

Use a combination of single and double blossom gardenias (such as Chuck Hayes) to complement each other in a border planting along a walkway. These gardenias will provide fragrance for you to enjoy as you walk along. Or, use gardenias as foundation plants to provide greenery, fragrance, highlight and color around your home.

Your gardenias can be used to skirt leggy plants, such as roses. Planted in a circle around or in front of the largely unattractive stems, the evergreen gardenia provides a nice complement to your roses.

Similar Characteristics

You can plant your gardenias with other shade-loving plants such as the cast iron plant, begonias, impatiens, ferns and philodendrons or with other shade-loving shrubs such as honeysuckle or viburnum. These combinations provide size and color contrast.

Plant your gardenias with shade-loving hostas or crotons with their variegated color foliage, with other acid-loving plants such as azaleas and rhododendrons or with star jasmine that has a similar fragrance.

Umbelliferous Plants

Umbelliferous plants are extremely important for your garden as well. Umbels are flat or rounded flower heads that are composed of multiple smaller flowers. Some examples of umbelliferous plants are dill, fennel and cilantro. These flowers attract predatory beneficial insects who will eat the pests. Umbels are attractive to ladybugs, parasitoid wasps, hoverflies and lacewings. These predatory insects will keep down the population of pests including aphids and the small cabbage white moth caterpillars. This group of plants is often found in organic gardens as a means of controlling insect pests. If you have an organic garden and plant organic vegetable seeds, you will want to follow through with organic pest control as well.

As mentioned earlier, beans can fix nitrogen in the soil. In other words, the bean plant can take the nitrogen found in the air and convert it to a usable form in the soil. If you pull the bean plant from the soil after it is finished producing beans, you will see small white nodules on the roots. That is the nitrogen. All legumes, including beans and peas, which are frequently grown in the home garden, have this ability. So, if you plant beans with a companion plant, as in the case of the Three Sisters, the plant that needs the nitrogen (corn) will have an immediate source from the nitrogen producer (beans). Another method of achieving this goal is crop rotation. When the beans are finished producing for the season, don’t pull the plants from the soil. Instead cut them at ground level and throw only the part of the plant that grew above ground into the compost heap. Allow the roots, with their nitrogen nodules, to remain in the soil. Next season when planning your garden and rotating the various plants’ locations, place the nitrogen needy plants, such as broccoli, squash, or leafy greens, where the nitrogen-rich beans were last year. By thinking about companion planting when you rotate your crops each year, you will help to maintain the nutrient balance of your soil.

Reader Comments

Varigated leaf impatiens ( also known as Sultana in the 1800)

Submitted by Helen L. Crisma. on March 22, 2021 - 8:57pm

My family has had a variegated leaf impatiens since 1960 and have dtaken many cuttings to continue propagation. My mom dies in 2012 and I have had her last plant which I am sad to say is dying. I have take cuttings and placed in water, but they do not seem to look well. The unusual thing this time was that at the end of one of the stalks it became mushy. Last year one of the plants stalks at the base became mushy and try as we might, we never got an offshoot to root. . I am trying to root some cuttings, but they look very droopy. I had been watering the plant and giving it all in one Rose and Flower Care by BioAdvanced weekly ( diluted) as this was advised by a gardener. It has been doing well up until this past week. i am heartbroken as I have never seen another varigated leaf impatints. My mother called it Lady of the White House. So for 50+ years we have kept this plant going. Is there any suggestion That would help this plant to live and root? Thank you.


Submitted by Janet Mongillo on August 12, 2020 - 2:19pm

My impatiens in a pot has lots of buds, but they dont open. The ones that do open just hang limp. What's wrong? Thanks.

Lighting and Watering

Submitted by The Editors on August 25, 2020 - 1:21pm

Try moving it to a slightly brighter spot or adjusting your watering. Lack of light can produce subpar blooms, as can over- or underwatering. Look for other signs that the plant could be struggling, such as drooping, yellowing leaves or brown leaf tips.

Bugs on Impatiens

Submitted by Nishita Deshmukh on June 26, 2020 - 6:29pm

There are green caterpillars feeding on my impatiens leaves. I am not sure how to get rid of them. Could you please help ?
I tried spraying water + dish soap on the leaves but does not seem to be helping.

How far apart should I plant my sunpatiens in window boxes?

Submitted by Hindy Abelson on May 13, 2019 - 1:15pm

I have an east facing sunny balcony on a 12th floor high-rise. How far apart should I plant my sunpatiens in my hanging window boxes?

Sunpatiens spacing

Submitted by The Editors on May 14, 2019 - 10:06am

SunPatiens grow 24 to 36 inches (61 to 92 centimeters) tall and wide. So, plant or hang at least 40 inches apart to give the plants circulation.

My flowers look bleached

Submitted by Carol Orvis on March 8, 2019 - 12:11pm

I have Sun Impatience and they look like the have been bleached in areas. I picked all of them off and yellowing leaves. They still grew back with the bleach flowers. I would love to know what to do. Thank you!

Sun Impatiens

Submitted by The Editors on March 8, 2019 - 4:37pm

Although Sun impatiens (“SunPatiens”) are better suited for areas with more sun, they are not immune to sun damage. It’s possible that yours are in too sunny of a spot, so transplanting to an area that gets part sun might help them out. Alternatively, yellow or whitish leaves can be cause by over- or underwatering. Are yours in a particularly wet or dry spot? This could also be the cause of your off-color leaves and blooms.

Impatient Hanging Bags

Submitted by Terese Laskey on August 17, 2018 - 1:28pm

During this summer my mother bought a hanging impatient bag which looked beautiful half way through the summer. About 2 weeks ago the dark green leaves began to wilt around the edges with only a little brown on the leaves down in the bag. Some stems have only a few leaves as though a bug might have eaten them. I did see a couple ants inside the bag. The plant is watered adequately and hangs on the porch away from the sun. I was thinking there is a household solution that can be sprayed on it besides removing most of leaves which would be quite a few. Is there a specific bug that attack these plants?

Impatiens wilting and losing their leaves

Submitted by Connie on August 22, 2018 - 2:32pm

Hi, I loved my impatiens hanging outside on my back door. The soil is moist by not wet. It has lost it's leaves and flowers. No bugs insight either. ?

Impatiens wilting

Submitted by Catherine Boeckmann on August 23, 2018 - 9:15am

Usually, this is related to a pot that doesn’t drain well which leads too root rot but it sounds like you don’t have that problem. Plants also wilt because they’re stressed by heat. Are your impatiens getting too much sun?


Submitted by Patti Fink on July 27, 2018 - 10:34am

I bought a "dying" plant for 1/2 price. Put it in a pot of water and fertilizer, and sat it in a sunny cool window. This morning it is completely alive and has blooms! If you think a plant is dead or dying, Google it before you toss it.

My hanging impatien was overwintered in a patio closet

Submitted by susan difronzo on March 19, 2019 - 6:06pm

my hanging impatien ( believe it is s. american) was overwintered in a patio closet. i wonder if it will come back.

Impatiens flower not growing

Submitted by Shivesh Tamrakar on February 4, 2018 - 2:07pm

I have bought impatiens on 1st January n it is blossoming great but now suddenly what happened i didn't understand from last three days it is dieing i couldn't find the reason n tell me how it will again start blossoming

I got an inpatient plant for

Submitted by Cindy on November 8, 2017 - 2:30pm

I got an inpatient plant for mother's day, it has been blooming all summer. Now that it is get cold (I live in Mich) I brought it in the house. It has grown 3 inch. and looks like a bunch of stark. Can I trim them down without hurting it.

Hi. Last year about mid

Submitted by Kim Elbat on August 22, 2017 - 6:52am

Hi. Last year about mid summer, a friend of mine gave me an Impatient flower in a pot. It was bloosoming and I could see it growing well. But I noticed recently it's not growing at all. I couldn't see any plant in it. I am not exactly sure when it started dying I don't know what's the problem with it. Can I still resurrect it? Please help. Thank you.

Impatiens Not Coming Back

Submitted by The Editors on August 23, 2017 - 10:11am

In most of the US , impatiens can only be grown outdoors as annuals, meaning they won’t come back after one season. The impatiens that your friend gave you was probably an annual variety. There is a perennial species, Impatiens walleriana, which may survive outdoors in Hardiness Zones 10 and 11.

Impatiens has no flowers

Submitted by Joan Pitlyk on July 26, 2018 - 6:14am

After blooming one time, my plant has no pink flowers. What can I do? Is it dead?

My impatiens plant is no

Submitted by Margaret Von Behren on July 15, 2019 - 10:11am

My impatiens plant is no longer blooming yet the leaves are nice and green. Why does it have no buds or flowers? What can I do?

Dwarfing leaves at the tips of new growth of my Impatiens?

Submitted by Mary on August 18, 2017 - 1:54pm

Over the years I have always grown in patients with great success! However periodically I will have a few plants that tend to start shooting out dwarf leaves and less bloom at the tips of each stalk?
Does anyone know what causes this and what you can do to fix it? Thank you!

Impatiens and other flower-seeds

Submitted by Bruce S. Conklin on July 28, 2017 - 3:33am

Which end is up on a flower's seeds? Mine have two ends, one tapering to a long, hair-like filament, the other comparatively blunt in shape is the long filament a proto-root?

Impatien Seeds

Submitted by The Editors on August 1, 2017 - 9:46am

The tapering pointed end of the seed goes down, the blunt side goes up. If you just drop the seed in, the plant can sense gravity and will send roots down and shoots up no matter what!

Impaients not blooming

Submitted by Kim Yates on July 19, 2017 - 9:44pm

I have New Guniea Impatients that are in pots in morning sun for 5-6 hours/day that are not blooming anymore. What's wrong?
Thank you for your assistance!

Flowerless impatiens

Submitted by The Editors on July 20, 2017 - 3:24pm

There could be a few reasons. Crowding can inhibit flowering. So can lack of moisture. You want well-draining soil so the plants do not sit in water. And do not look to fertilizer New Guinea impatiens do not need heavy fertilizer. The lighting on your New Guinea impatiens sounds reasonable. However, if you can give them more sun you might get better results plants that get higher light levels often flower more quickly. One more thing: the plants may have been bred/grown to bloom at the time of sale it’s not an unusual practice. (And, yes, they will bloom again.)

Companion Planting with New Guinea impatiens

Submitted by Dorothy Collins on May 20, 2017 - 11:51am

I would like to ensure good results by doing companion planting with New Guinea Impatiens. Could you provide some plants that will provide good results?

Impatien companions

Submitted by The Editors on May 23, 2017 - 1:41pm

Ah, that we could all “ensure” good results. Plants with the same “likes” are a good choice, such as “wet feet” (moist conditions) and sunlight (and light shade). Some suggested companions include asparagus ferns and/or elephant ear for a contrasting scale.

Some say these plants look best in mass plantings. Consider that each plant may spread into an 18-inch mound. So the best companion plants may be more new guinea impatiens.

Removing wilted blooms

Submitted by Ruth on May 11, 2017 - 10:48am

Do you remove the wilted bloom or cut the stem off to remove the wilted bloom of the New Guinea Impatient?

Pruning Impatiens

Submitted by The Editors on May 12, 2017 - 10:55am

Pinching off the wilted bloom is perfectly fine. If your plant starts to look leggy, however, you can pinch the stems farther back (3 inches) to encourage denser growth.


Submitted by Marilyn Vankat on April 25, 2017 - 4:23pm

How long does it take from planting seeds to getting blooms? Thanks.

Germination time

Submitted by The Editors on April 26, 2017 - 11:16am

If you seeds are in a packet, Marilyn, check the back of it most indicate this detail. Usually the guidance is up to 21 days, but you should expect to see sprouts in the first two weeks.

Watch the video: How to Pinch Seedlings for Fuller Growth u0026 Higher Yields! . Garden Answer