Impatiens are terrific to plant in the garden. Offering a range of shapes and colors, oh, and they are typically easy to maintain, too. The problem is predators, and pests often seek them out. But which ones exactly, and what can you do to stop them? That is exactly what we will be covering here today.
So, what is eating my impatiens? Animals that eat impatiens include deer, rats, and rabbits. It could be that your impatiens are being eaten by insects too, such as spider mites and weevils. Or it could be the result of slugs.
Below, I’ve outlined what exactly could be eating your impatiens, how to stop them, and finally, tips on how to restore your plant back to its usual self in no time!
What Is Eating My Impatiens?
Let’s start with the biggest, but not necessarily the most harmful, of them all. Deer!
As well as their exquisite good looks and reliable nature, impatiens are known for their sweet taste.
And deer have one of the biggest sweet tooths around!
If they stumble upon your impatiens, you can pretty much bet that they’ll begin feasting on them imminently.
First, they’ll target the flowers themselves, but they may well move onto their greenery, too, in lieu of alternative food sources.
Rats eat pretty much anything, and your impatiens plants are no exception.
In fact, they perceive its flowers as a sweet treat and one that they simply can’t get enough of.
It’s worth noting that this is particularly true if the plant is young and not yet so established.
We may regard rabbits as our harmless fluffy friends, but we ought not to underestimate them.
With rabbits around, our impatiens are simply not safe. It’s not that they’re the fuel of choice for rabbits.
Rather, and perhaps even worse, rabbits will only look to eat our impatiens if there’s no better option in sight.
When they do, they cause considerable harm by munching on everything from its flowers to its leaves and even its stems.
Now, let’s move on to insects.
Slugs are one of the most common impatiens predators known to roam our gardens.
They’re nocturnal, so it’s only really at night that they emerge, only to happily tunnel their way through the plant’s foliage and flowers, devouring it in the process.
Whilst their nocturnal nature means that you’re unlikely to catch them in the act, the slime trails and hole-strewn leaves that they leave behind are a clear giveaway of their presence.
Weevils, specifically black vine weevils, are yet another insect to look out for.
When they’re adults, they feed on the plant’s foliage, but when they’re in mere grub form, they feed on their roots and cause considerable damage by ultimately stunting the plant’s growth.
Again, you might not see them at work because they’ll be busy operating beneath the surface, but your plant’s newly wilted leaves and dead flowers will certainly give away their presence.
Last but not least, this list would be incomplete without a mention of spider mites. Spider mites feast on the cell sap of most plants, impatiens included.
By removing the nutritional juices from the plant, they cause the plant to become devoid of nutrients and, thus, energy.
Without these life essentials, the plant will struggle to make food and, ultimately, struggle to survive.
Whilst a couple of spider mites are no big deal, an abundance of them is sure to have a significant impact on the health of your plant, so be sure to take action as soon as you notice them!
And if you don’t notice them, which is very much possible due to their tiny size, you’ll probably notice the yellow spots all over your plant’s foliage – a direct result of their presence.
Keep your eyes peeled!
How Do I Stop Impatiens From Being Eaten?
Just as there are multiple pests to look out for, there are several methods that you could adopt to remove them from your impatiens and even prevent their initial presence altogether.
I’ve rounded up the most effective of the bunch below.
Applying strategic scent deterrents around plants is one of the most popular pest removal strategies in the gardening realm.
Reason being it’s both nontopical and non-toxic.
Rather, by simply placing scents that the suspected animals or insects dislike around the plant, you’ll effectively repel them from its vicinity and maybe even from your entire garden!
Of course, you’ll need to research which scents to use depending on which pests you’re dealing with, but generally speaking, deer and rats dislike the smell of garlic, onions, and peppermint oil, whilst most insects can’t stand scents on the citrus end of the spectrum.
If your impatiens are inundated with insects, and even if it’s not, it’s definitely worth considering applying neem oil to them.
Neem oil is a completely natural solution and one that is easy to find, be it online or in your local garden store.
It works by suffocating any insect that comes into contact with it, so if you dispense it across the entirety of your plant, from its flowers to its leaves and its stem, you’ll have those insects gone in no time!
Similarly, you could always purchase a bottle of insecticide.
As long as you follow the instructions on the bottle, you can almost guarantee its effectiveness.
Plus, these days, they can be found in organic, non-toxic varieties, so hopefully, you won’t do any harm to the surrounding plant life in your garden.
But, if you happen to opt for a more traditional chemical insecticide, just be sure to use it with caution, particularly if you have children or pets running around outside.
If animals, such as deer, rats, and rabbits, are the primary problem, physical barriers might be the best way forward.
Specifically, by installing a fence around the perimeter of your impatiens, it’s likely that you’ll ward the predators away.
This solution is a permanent and reliable one and certainly worth a shot!
Back to basics! Many gardeners, particularly when they come across slugs on their impatiens, prefer to remove them by hand.
Whilst it can be fairly time-consuming depending on the size of the plant, this process allows for an unrivaled thoroughness.
And all you’ll need is yourself, a pair of gloves, and a bucket of soapy water to dash the insects into.
Finally, if you suspect an insect invasion, you could enlist the help of your hosepipe to get rid of them.
By spraying your plant down with a strong enough water stream, you can essentially blast those insects away.
How Do I Get My Impatiens To Flower Again?
Getting your impatiens to flower again is a relatively simple feat.
Essentially, it entails carrying out the usual tasks required for most plants to thrive.
Optimize Growing Conditions
First, take a step back and observe your impatiens’ living space.
All plants should ideally be placed in the conditions in which they thrive the most in.
For impatiens, this means moist soil that is well-draining, as well as plenty of shade to protect them from the intense heat of the sun as well as wind.
Implement Pest Control Solutions
Next, it’s a good idea to adopt the above-outlined pest removal solutions.
Only when the pests are fully removed will your impatiens plant be able to grow at its best.
And rather than reacting and merely intervening once the pests have already invaded, why not adopt a proactive approach and work to prevent their presence instead?!
Additionally, don’t forget to fertilize your impatiens.
They benefit from the extra nutrients immensely, and the general recommendation is to apply fertilizer every couple of weeks for the best results.
Prune Your Impatiens
Pruning is important too.
Growing season is the best time for it, and you’re free to cut away at your impatiens as much or as little as you desire to depend on the aesthetic you’re aiming to achieve and how twiggy the plant is.
It’s simple stuff!