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Downy Mildew on Impatiens

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Posted in Experts, Flowers, Summer

Downy Mildew on Impatiens

We know how you love your Impatiens Walleriana, but Downy Mildew seems to love them too! 


Downy Mildew is caused by a type of pathogen often referred to as a water mold. It ONLY affects the common annual bedding plant Impatiens Walleriana that Niagara gardeners love to plant in their shade gardens. Here are a few things you should know about Downy Mildew;

  • spores live on the lower surface of infected leaves and can be splashed short distances from plant to plant
  • spores can become airborne and travel long distances (to your neighbours yard) on moist air currents
  • downy mildew thrives in cool, moist conditions
  • spores are able to survive the winter in infected flower beds
  • downy mildew ONLY affects regular, old fashioned impatiens
  • removing all infected soil and replacing it with fresh, clean soil will not cure the problem
  • leaves on your impatiens will appear light yellow then the leaf edges will curl downwards. A fluffy white growth will appear on the lower surface of the leaves. Blossoms, then leaves will drop. This can happen very quickly, sometimes overnight.
  • if downy mildew affects your impatiens, remove all plants and surrounding soil. Place them in a garbage bag and put them in the garbage, NOT your compost pile

At the present time, there is no remedy for downy mildew. We recommend that you DO NOT plant impatiens in previously infected beds. Instead, choose plants which grow in similar conditions to impatiens, such as;

  • begonia (tuberous or fibrous)
  • caladium
  • coleus
  • New Guinea (sunshine) impatiens

You may be asking yourself why we are carrying Impatiens Walleriana this year at the Country Basket. The answer is simple; Impatiens are the number one bedding plant in North America and our customers have asked us to carry them. All we ask is that if you choose to plant impatiens, please follow these guidelines;

  • do NOT plant impatiens in flower beds that had infected plants (even if it was a few years ago)
  • space plants so that air moves easily between plants and leaves dry quickly
  • avoid evening watering
  • plant impatiens in new potting soil in hanging baskets, containers and planters 

If you should have any questions or concerns, please contact us by phone, email or drop by the garden centre.


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