Impatiens Flowers Then Leaves Disappeared Then Stems Died

Question From: East Northport, New York, United States
Q: My plants were behaving beautifully. Flowers were abundant and beautiful. All of a sudden all the flowers disappeared leaving only the leaves. Then the leaves disappeared leaving only the stems. The stems then died. First it happened to the plants I proudly put at the street. I had veery healthy blooming impatiens up near the house. Then the same thing happened to the ones in those beds. Now the same thing is happening in the beds around in back of my house. At first I thought -- rabbits! However, I have not seen rabbits come up to my house and CERTAINLY not in the back because of a cat that hangs around at back. Could the squirrels be eating them?

A: My guess is you impatiens have the incurable disease impatience downy mildew. Remove and dispose of all the plants including the roots and do not replant this variety in the same location for three years. Sun patiens and New Guinea impatiens or begonias are all good replacements. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy