It always amazes me how quickly the world of plants changes. My main aim is to always ensure that Thompson & Morgan offers the best plants that will give superb performance in all of our gardens.
Busy Lizzies (walleriana types) have been the number one bedding plant over the last 30 years, owing to their guaranteed performance no matter what summer weather comes our way. However, all this has changed in the last two years, because of the devastating Downy Mildew types 2 and 3, which generally defoliate the plant within 2 weeks from late June/early July and therefore the plant gives no colour for the rest of the season.
As a result of this disappointment Thompson & Morgan has decided to drop all walleriana types (as this is the only strain that succumbs to the mildew) from the range. With sales in excess of £1,000,000 it would have been an all too easy for us to carry on offering our best selling bedding plant, but we want our customers to be completely satisfied. I have no hesitation in recommending New Guinea Impatiens ‘Divine’, this will soon replace impatiens walleriana. I am a little disappointed in the colour range at this moment in time, as it is not as comprehensive as the walleriana types. However, this is no different to when we started selling Impatiens walleriana over 30 years ago.
My main tips to our customers would be to grow the plants in a 3” pot and not to plant them in the garden until (at least) the first or second week of June, as the New Guinea Impatiens tend to be more susceptible to the cold in the early part of the season. However, once they are established you will not know the difference.
Thompson & Morgan has purchased all the seed that is available and anticipates that all plants will be sold out before the middle of March. ‘Divine’ does not produce seed easily, which is a benefit to the home gardener, as this allows the plant to produce more flowers. Unfortunately, it does dramatically increase the price of the seed and, therefore, the plant costs. With this in mind I am pleased to offer an introductory price of 36 plants for £6.99, or 72 plants for £9.99. One of our competitors is selling 72 plants for £24.46, if they can supply it!
Please do not risk growing any impatiens walleriana - you will only be disappointed.
An infected busy lizzie plant
A busy lizzie leaf affected by downy mildew