En EspaÑol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - May 11, 2013

From: Westchester County, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Wildflowers
Title: Native Annual Plant Substitute for Impatiens
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

What can be used as an annual flowering plant to substitute for the diseased impatiens? Is Vinca one you would suggest?

ANSWER:

The disease that is causing trouble for the cultivated garden impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) in at least 33 states is downy mildew. There's a good article in ScienceNews, the online magazine explaining the downy mildew problem on impatiens. There are no native vincas to suggest as substitutes, but there are several native annual flowering plants for you to consider. Some will bloom better with more sun.
To find an annual native plant substitute, the first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database.  Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: Habit – herbaceous, Duration – annual, Light requirement – part shade or shade, Soil moisture – moist, height 0-3 ft.
Some of the impatiens substitution possibilities include:

Bidens cernua (nodding beggartick) yellow blooms August – October.

Capsicum annuum (chile pequin) white flowers followed by small green fruit turning red when ripe.  Hot, edible fruit.

Geranium viscosissimum (sticky purple geranium) purple/pink blooms May to August.

Mimulus bicolor (yellow and white monkeyflower) yellow blooms April to June.

Nemophila maculata (fivespot) white blooms with purple spots from April to July.

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan) yellow daisy-like blooms from June to October.

Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage) white, pink or red blooms February to October.

Tinantia anomala (false dayflower) white, blue or purple flowers from March through May.

 

From the Image Gallery


Nodding beggartick
Bidens cernua

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

Sticky purple geranium
Geranium viscosissimum

Fivespot
Nemophila maculata

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

False dayflower
Tinantia anomala

More Wildflowers Questions

Origins of the Name For Blackfoot Daisies
April 20, 2013 - Can you tell me why blackfoot daisies are named “blackfoot”?
view the full question and answer

How to grow bluebonnets in Atlanta TX
March 04, 2011 - How can I grow bluebonnets in Atlanta Texas?
view the full question and answer

When to plant bluebonnet seeds in Houston
May 06, 2010 - I live south of Houston and have purchased 1lb. of bluebonnet seeds. The seed company told me I could put them out in June-when mother nature does it, however I have read several answers that say to s...
view the full question and answer

Plant Suggestions for Shady Site under Trees in Alabama
April 03, 2014 - I live in Montgomery, AL and have a bare area (20' x 5’) that's shady and soil erosion is a problem. Grass stops growing at the drip line of the trees here. Do you have any suggestions for growing s...
view the full question and answer

Grasses and wildflowers for Central Texas
December 29, 2008 - I live between Bastrop and Paige and would like to know native grasses or types of wildflowers I can plant now. thank you
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center