SunPatiens, A Next Generation Bedding Plant

From The Spring 2019 issue of In The Garden, our quarterly newsletter.

Nothing sweeps me off my feet like flowers. Any flower. It could be as grand as a daffodil or as mundane as a dandelion puff. If it’s blooming, it has my rapt attention. And over the past several years, no flower has captured my attention quite like SunPatiens.

SunPatiens is a revolutionary new hybrid bedding plant, a true breakthrough in flower breeding. I’m sure most gardeners are familiar with common impatiens. For decades there was hardly a shady garden in Tulsa that wasn’t decked out with impatiens. It was, for years, the best-selling annual of all time. But like so many plants that get over planted, it developed problems, not the least of which was the serious fungal disease: Downey Mildew.

Compact SunPatiens come in a variety of colors. Photo by Dan Gill/LSU AgCenter

Common impatiens were truly the classic “Goldilocks” plant - it only thrived in shady locations that were “not too hot, not to cold, but just right.” The new hybrid SunPatiens, on the other hand, is as tough as it is beautiful. It thrives in full sun or part shade and it’s virtually immune to insect and disease problems. I personally rate it number one among annual bedding plants in today’s nursery industry.

Twenty-two new SunPatiens varieties were tested in the Linnaeus Teaching Garden in 2017. They flowered non-stop from May through November. And they performed this miraculous “bloom-a-thon” fete in one of the hottest areas of the Linnaeus Teaching Garden. On days when I was a little down or weary, I would head straight to the SunPatiens display to feast on the outlandish beauty spread out before me. The gorgeous floral display always lifted my spirit. The SunPatiens family consists of three unique series based on height and spread: SunPatiens Compact, SunPatiens Spreading and SunPatiens Vigorous. Flower colors include white, rose, salmon, orange, lavender and red. Garden success has never been simpler with easy-to-plant, easy to-grow SunPatiens. Thick flower petals and strong study stems hold up amazing well in our hot and humid summer weather.

Barry Fugatt can be reached at (918) 576-5152 or by email at bfugatt@tulsagardencenter.org.