Impatiens glandulifera, commonly known as Himalayan balsam, Policeman's helmet, Bobby tops, Copper tops, and Gnome's hatstand, is a stunning annual plant that stands out with its unique appearance and vibrant colors. Native to the Himalayas, this plant has made its way to gardens worldwide, thanks to its captivating beauty and easy-to-grow nature.
One of the most striking features of Impatiens glandulifera is its tall stem, which can grow up to 2 meters. This stem is thick, juicy, and hollow inside, providing a sturdy base for the plant's large, double inflorescences. These inflorescences take the shape of a spikelet and come in various shades, ranging from white to wine-red. However, the most common color is a mesmerizing purple-pink.
The leaves of the Impatiens glandulifera are another highlight. They are whorled, with three or sometimes four at a node. These ovate-lanceolate leaves can reach lengths of 6-12 cm and have toothed edges with winged petioles. At the base of these leaves, you can find two stalked dark red glands, adding to the plant's overall charm.
But what truly sets the Impatiens glandulifera apart is its flowering pattern. The plant blooms from mid-summer to frost, offering an extended period of beauty in your garden. The flowers are zygomorphic, measuring 3-3.5 cm, and have a subtle, delicate scent that attracts pollinators like bumblebees.
When it comes to fruit, the Impatiens glandulifera doesn't disappoint. It has an obovate capsule that's sharp at the top. When these ripe fruits are touched, they break off from their seed carrier, twist into a spiral, and scatter their seeds. These seeds are small, brown-black, and can be scattered up to a radius of 10 meters. In a single season, one Impatiens glandulifera plant can produce up to 4,000 seeds, ensuring its legacy for years to come.
Impatiens glandulifera is a relatively easy plant to cultivate. It thrives in sunny conditions and is notably resistant to drought. This makes it a perfect addition to gardens that experience long, dry summers. The plant prefers neutral soils, so if you're planting it in a garden bed, ensure the soil isn't too acidic or alkaline.
For those looking to plant Impatiens glandulifera, the process is straightforward. Begin by planting the seeds in April. If you're in a colder region, you might want to start indoors and then transplant the seedlings outside once the threat of frost has passed. In warmer areas, you can directly sow the seeds outdoors in May. However, always have some covering material on hand, as Impatiens glandulifera is sensitive to cold weather and might need protection from unexpected frosts.
Once the plant is established, it requires minimal care. It's resistant to most pests and diseases, and its drought resistance means you won't have to water it frequently. Just provide it with a sunny spot in your garden, and watch it bloom and thrive!
Impatiens glandulifera is more than just a plant; it's a statement. Its tall stems, vibrant flowers, and unique appearance make it a must-have for any garden. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this plant is sure to become a favorite. So why wait? Get your Impatiens glandulifera seeds today and add a touch of the Himalayas to your garden!