A great way to improve the entrance of any home is by using potted color, and New Guinea impatiens are a wonderful choice when used in pots and hanging baskets. Although they are relatively easy to grow there are some useful tips for ensuring you have the healthiest and most colourful plants.

New Guinea impatiens provide colour all year round, not just from their vibrant flowers in shades of pink, orange, cerise, red, maroon, magenta, pure white and bicolor, but also from the exotic foliage that some varieties produce. They look great either mixed and matched, or grown in a mass display of single colours.

For the best results, New Guinea impatiens need a good quality potting mix, regular watering and a fortnightly application of soluble fertiliser.

When planting into pots and baskets, select a container that allows room for a good root system to develop, and use a top quality and moisture-retentive potting mix such as Searles® Peat 80 Plus.

Containerised plants tend to dry out quickly in hot and windy weather. To ensure your plants do not suffer from moisture stress, water them regularly - in normal conditions about twice a week should suffice, but in extreme weather it may be necessary to water them more frequently. In heatwave conditions New Guinea impatiens sometimes become limp and floppy; if this is the case, a good soak overnight will revive them and restore them to normal vigour by morning.

New Guinea impatiens like a sheltered position away from frost and wind and with some sunlight. If grown in full sun, they'll remain very compact, whereas if they are grown in full shade, they become leggy and won't flower so well. So an ideal spot for them is one with shade and sunlight, such as on verandahs, patios and balconies.

The crowning glory of the remarkable New Guinea impatiens is their beautiful multi-coloured flowers. To promote more abundant and lively blooms, fertilise every two weeks with Searles® Flourish.

After each flush of flowering, cut your plants back to promote a more compact shape and they will reward your efforts by producing even more flowers.

Few pests and diseases attack New Guinea impatience. Problems to watch for are aphids (spray with pyrethrum or hose off with a gentle spray), caterpillars (pick off by hand) and fungal disease, which show as small black spots on the foliage (spray with SeaMax® Fish & Kelp).
So remember this checklist for growing successful impatiens:

• Plant into Searles® Peat 80 plus
• Water about twice a week
• Place them in a sheltered position with some sunlight
• Fertilise fortnightly with Searles® Flourish
• Check for the occasional infestation of pests and fungal disease
• Prune after each flush of flowers to encourage more blooms.
Your home will now be graced with vivid colour, all year round.

Happy Gardening with Searles from the Searle family.

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