20422 Nissouri Rd.
Thorndale, ON
N0M 2P0 Get directions to Heeman's.
Sunday Closed
Monday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm


are back, baby!

Everyone loves a good comeback story. No matter where I go, the garden question I always hear without fail is ‘are impatiens back?” or “is it safe to plant impatiens again” and finally, the answer is yes!

A new strain of impatiens, known as ‘Imara’ was developed to be specifically resistant to the disease, making these fave flowers finally a reasonable planting option once again. No longer do we have to be anxious about our gorgeous plants falling ill. This new strain is every bit as gorgeous as impatiens that we remember from a few years ago – the only difference is the confidence we can now have in planting them to grow into happy, healthy flowers.

The story of impatiens in our own backyard gardens has been a rollercoaster, to say the least, and until very recently, had a tragic end. Once explosively popular, these flowers fell victim in massive numbers to downy mildew, which devastated our containers and flower beds in 2013. Since then, impatiens grew out of favour since we didn’t have any way to fight back against disease – until now.

Downy Mildew and Impatiens

Downy mildew in impatiens is thanks to one incredibly successful and vicious fungus-like growth that targets impatiens specifically. We started to see signs of it popping up in greenhouses and backyards in 2013, and by 2014, we saw the once overwhelmingly popular impatiens nearly taken out by disease.

Trials of the new Imara impatiens (left) vs. existing varieties (right) showing
gardens in August with Downy Mildew infecting older varieties.

Unsuspecting gardeners everywhere were left scratching their heads trying to figure out what they’d done wrong when, in the span of just a week, their impeccable impatiens had gone from drop-dead gorgeous to just dropped dead. Some may have blamed it on water, others may have blamed it on weather, but the real culprit was lurking in the soil all along: Downy Mildew.

It spreads through spores that can stay dormant in the soil for multiple years or be spread in the air, lurking and waiting for more impatiens to attack. Specifically adapted for attacking impatiens, our poor flowers didn’t stand a chance when downy mildew started to spread.

The spores make their way into our plants in an assortment of ways, but an infection carries some tell-tale signs: yellowing and stippling of infected leaves, curling leaves, grey markings, and finally a white, downy growth on the undersides of leaves.

The Imara Comeback

Losing our impatiens to downy mildew was heartbreaking because these flowers are absolutely stunning. They offer open, colourful petals that fill their foliage to the brim with colour and summer enthusiasm. Not to mention, they come in a wide array of our favourite summer shades and colours, and they seem to be the perfect match for every container and garden.

Don’t let their pretty face fool you, though, because according to the breeder’s trials and reports, the brand new, hot off the propagation presses ‘Imara’ strain, impatiens are as tough as ever and only getting better from here on out. Low maintenance, hardy, and easy to care for in beds or containers, we’re told these flowers are the newest go-to for annual gardening, and we can’t wait to see how they perform in their first year.

Like in any good fairytale, our once beloved hero is ready to make a major comeback, write the next chapter, and have a happy ending as we finally welcome them back into our gardens after all these years!

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