Question From: Orinda, California, United States
Q: Impatiens wilted, when pulled found quarter inch or smaller worms just under soil surface. Also noted green, segmented, hollow, half inch pods on soil surface. Flowers were planted in May from 4" pots.
If the roots were intact when you pulled the plants, the issue is probably Impatiens Downy Mildew. This fungal-like disease is fatal to common Impatiens and the plants should be bagged and disposed of in the garbage. Do not plant common impatiens in the potting soil. The worms were probably immature fungus gnats that often come with potted plants. A quarter inch layer of sand spread over the surface of the soil will do away with them. The segmented hollow pods are immature seed pods from the impatiens. You may replace your impatiens with New Guinea Impatiens or Sun Patiens that are immune to the disease. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.