Impatiens Thinning And Dropping Leaves

Question From: R. gROFF - Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
Q: My impatiens grew beautifully up until the beginning of August...growing tall and bushy and mounding nicely. Now they are thinning and dropping leaves and look so sickly that you can see through the plant, when it used to be a solid mound of green and flowers. This has affected impatiens in several different areas some under Maple trees or crepe Myrtles or Oaks. What would cause them to thrive and then fade? Is it the "end" of their life span? I am very upset as I spent a good amount of time and money for what was my pride and joy in the front lawn. Thanks, Ric Groff

A: Sounds like impatiens downy mildew. The undersides of the leaves are often covered with a gray fuzz and the leaves cup upwards before falling. Sadly it is a fatal. Dig and dispose of them asap as the spores can live in the soil up to five years. Take a sample in to your local independent garden center or nursery for a positive ID. I do not recommend planting impatiens walleriana in the same soil next year. Best Nancy.

Q: Thanks so much for the informative, if disappointing, answer. Do you have a suggestion as to what I can replace these impatiens with for the rest of the summer/fall? We have too much "yard" appreciation time left here in Charlotte, at least until Halloween at Octobers end. I have a huge void in my landscape presentation! Thanks again!

A: My faves are begonia "Big". See what's available at your garden center. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.