The SunPatiens®

SP-mainSunPatiens® is a hybrid impatiens developed by the Japanese breeder Sakata specifically to improve the performance of impatiens in hot sun and humid conditions. By blending a great deal of New Guinea genetics into the basic impatiens they’ve delivered a plant with larger flowers and stronger stems but with the color firepower of traditional impatiens. As it turns out, this breeding work also enabled SunPatiens® to escape the worst of the downy mildew problem so we recommend it as a standard impatiens substitute in sunny locations.

Blush Pink

SunPatiens® has the same cultural requirements as standard impatiens, except it likes the sun. Although the color range is not as wide, plants deliver the standard shades with full force and they stay in bloom for the full season, just as regular impatiens do. In the past we would have complained about the limited color selection but at the moment customers are clambering for material that will survive—they are not as concerned about extra colors.

Electric Orange

We do like the general robustness of these plants: the petals are thicker and so are the stems so SunPatiens® handle the weather nicely. They tolerate heavy rains, adverse cold and higher winds better than standard impatiens and they bounce back from weather damage faster. With the wet and unstable weather we’ve been having, this is a particularly valuable feature.


Although SunPatiens® come in three versions, we find that the best one is the Compact series. Compact SunPatiens® are bred with shorter stems and aggressive branching, so they resemble traditional impatiens closely. Plants mature to be short and bushy, growing about 24–36 inches high and round in a sufficiently watered garden bed. In containers, the plants tend to be shorter and tighter, about 18–24 inches. Heat tolerance is excellent in the high summer and plants also have light frost tolerance to extend the color at the end of the season.


We also sell a second series—Spreading SunPatiens®. These plants are similar to the Compacts except that they don’t stop growing. They create a taller mound with a more pronounced trailing habit on the edges, making them great for containers where this behavior is desirable. Watered regularly, the Spreading SunPatiens® can grow up to 36 inches in height with trailing edges even longer. As with other impatiens, less water will result in a shorter plant. If you’re looking for an impatiens that behaves more like a groundcover, try some Spreading SunPatiens® in the landscape bed.


This week, we are shipping Compact SunPatiens® in Electric Orange, Coral, Red, Magenta, Lilac, Blush Pink and White. Plants are available in 1801 flats, 10-inch hanging baskets, 4.5-inch pots and 6-inch pots. We are also shipping White and Lilac Spreading SunPatiens® in 4.5-inch pots.