Growing Guide
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Annual Flower

Also known as Touch-Me-Not, Garden Balsam, Rose Balsam
Impatiens balsamina
Balsaminaceae Family

Very shade-tolerant, balsam brings the tropics to the annual garden with brightly colored flowers borne closely along the upright, bright green stem of the plant.

Site Characteristics
  • part shade
  • full shade

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
  • tolerates damp soil
Prefers rich soil that is kept moist but not soggy. Performs best in warm weather.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 1 to 2.5 feet

Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom time:

  • early summer
  • mid-summer
  • late summer
  • early fall
  • mid-fall

Flowers until frost.

Flower color:

  • red
  • orange
  • yellow
  • violet
  • white
  • pink

Foliage color: medium green

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: upright

Shape in flower: same as above

Bears flowers along stem, nestled in with the leaves.

Special Considerations
  • heat
Special characteristics:
  • aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Southeast Asia
Special uses:
  • direct-seeding
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed - Balsam is a prolific self-sower. After one season of growth, it generally reappears from self sown seeds the next year. After frost has passed, scatter seeds where desired, or sow seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost. Do not cover the seeds with soil, as they need light to germinate. Until the seeds germinate, cover the seed trays with clear plastic to maintain high humidity. Water from below to prevent damping off.

Germination temperature: 65 F to 70 F

Days to emergence: 7 to 14

Maintenance and care:
May be a weedy nuisance due to its self seeding habits. Keep soil moist but not soggy.

More growing information: How to Grow Annuals

Parasitic nematodes
Powdery mildew
Look for dwarfs, various flower colors, single- and double-flowered varieties.

‘Tom Thumb’ Series: very dwarf plants with showy double flowers borne prominently along the stem. Many colors available. Fussier than other impatiens.

‘Color Parade’ Series: dwarf (10” tall) plants with showy double flowers in a variety of colors.

'Camelia Flowered' Series: Large, double-flowered. Colors include pink, red and variegated white. Grows 2 to 2.5 feet tall.