In the last couple of years, our Busy Lizzies have been devastated by disease so this year they will – and should be – hard to find in garden centres and largely unavailable by mail order. Frankly, there’s no point growing them.
But what to grow instead? Well, how about a different kind of Impatiens
New Guinea impatiens have long been grown as indoor plants, and with their attractive foliage and large, bold and bright flowers have been much appreciated as pot plants. Developed from I. hawkeri
, which grows wild in from Papua New Guinea, recent developments have adapted them to being grown outside in summer containers and even in sunny summer borders.
It is the African species, I. walleriana
, the species from which the familiar Accent, Super Elfin and other busy lizzies have been developed, that suffers from the devastating downy mildew which has made growing busy lizzies pointless.
But the four colours of the Sun Harmony Series of New Guinea impatiens were outstanding last summer; their vigorous growth, tolerance of both full sun and partial shade, and their long flowering period really made them stand out. And, of course, no mildew.
You can order Impatiens Sun Harmony Series from Gardening Direct
.Also look out for…Impatiens Divine Series
– nine colours, no mildew, tolerates cool conditions better. From Dobies
.Chilli Pepper ‘Bhut Jolokia’
– one of the world’s hottest, and previous world record holder. From Simply Seeds and Plants.Petunia Eliza
– bushy fragrant bicolour, new in the Tumbelina Series. From Mr Fothergill's.