Question From: MINNESOTA
Q: I have impatiens, and for three seasons now I've had these little flies that look like fruit flies, that fly around my plants, and the leaves fall to the dirt and the plant dies. I've tried replacing the soil, replacing the plants, and to no avail, the flies return and the new plants die also, the same way (leaves falling to the dirt, until there is only a stalk that wilts and dies). Any ideas? I've tried looking online to find the name of the culprit, but not sure that I can identify, and would like some input on what to try. I have the same impatiens in the back of my house with no problems (opposite side of my house). I've used plants from the same packages in front and back and the ones in the front of the house always die from these flies.
A: I don't think the flies are doing your plants in. They have impatiens downy mildew. Take a sample into your local garden center for visual ID. There is no cure. I suggest you plant New Guinea impatiens, begonias or coleus in your shade beds. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.