En EspaŅol

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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Hollies not retaining leaves in Tulsa
August 10, 2008 - I have Little Red Hollies that have lost their leaves, some areas being bald. They are also not full - you can see through them. These were planted in this condition Spring of '08 and have been wat...
view the full question and answer

Further question on sprouts from holly tree in Surprise AZ
November 16, 2010 - Thank you Barbara Medford for your response to my question about the sprouting holly tree in Surprise AZ. I took for granted that the tree I was talking about was a holly tree. I looked at pictures of...
view the full question and answer

Disease-resistant squash varieties for Central Texas
February 03, 2008 - Can you give me names of some disease-resistant summer squash varieties available in Central Texas?
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming Tecoma stans in Fredericksburg, TX
June 30, 2008 - We have an esperanza plant purchased last year from Walmart and planted outside before winter. It flowered excellently last year. Just before winter we cut it back to about a foot. So far this summer ...
view the full question and answer

Redbud leaves turning yellow in mid-summer
July 13, 2012 - The leaves on our redbud trees are turning yellow. The yellow leaves are pale with no other spots and no dark veins. I don't know for sure which variety of redbud they are or how old they are (more t...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center