Thursday, February 10, 2011

Camellia flowered balsam, Impatiens balsamina

Impatiens balsamina, Camellia flowered balsam

This summer flowering annual could definitely be called old fashioned as it is now seldom grown as a bedding plant. It stands stiffly upright to about 30cm and would appeal to anyone who likes their flowering plants to stay neat and not flop about. It has largely been replaced by its cousin the New Guinea Impatiens which has much larger more showy flowers as well as interesting variegated foliage. This balsam is originally from India, Malaysia and China and has been cultivated as a garden flower for a long time.The small double flowers resemble a camellia in shape. It is very easy to grow from seed sown in spring but is fairly hungry for water and good rich soil, perhaps a reason for its decline in prominence during the years of drought.

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