The industrious Lieschen (Impatiens walleriana) is a plant species of the genus Impatiens and belongs to the family of the Balsaminaceae. The permanent flowering heron originates from the mountainous regions of tropical East Africa, but in our country the numerous varieties (Impatiens Walleriana hybrids) are of gardening importance. The botanical name “impatiens” translates as impatience and is an allusion to the seed capsules, which spring open immediately when touched when ripe. The name “walleriana” is dedicated to the English missionary Horace Waller (1833-1896), who worked in Central Africa and is said to have discovered the species as one of the first. The Edellieschen (Impatiens New Guinea Group) are just as varied as the varieties of the industrious Lieschen. They can be recognised by their larger flowers and their larger, narrow and elegantly pointed leaves.
With its fleshy and strongly branched shoots, which often appear reddish, the plant, which is actually perennial but usually cultivated in our country for one year, spreads like a cushion to a mat. The Imaptiens Walleriana hybrids reach a height of 20 to 40 centimeters.
The elliptic to lanceolate leaves of the industrious Lieschen are alternately arranged and toothed. They grow to be four to five centimeters long. Depending on the variety, they are glossy dark green or coloured.
Busy lilies bloom from May to October. The abundance of flowers increases more and more over the summer. In the light shade, the single or double flowers, depending on the variety, which are coloured red, violet, white, pink, pink and orange, develop an enormous luminosity. The plate-shaped flowers are five-part, flat and three to four centimeters wide.
The balsam is characterised by its thick, fleshy capsule fruits, which spring up at the slightest touch at ripening time and throw their seeds far from themselves.
In the bright shade and half-shade, industrious Lieschen feel most comfortable and belong with it to the few types, that provide for colorful eye-catchers there. Direct sunlight would cause brown spots or edges on the delicate leaves (burns). In too dark places fewer flowers form. The summer flowers are therefore particularly suitable for a wind-protected west, east or north terrace. But beware: the frost-sensitive continuous bloomers can be damaged at temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius. Plant Impatiens outside only after the last frosts.
Impatiens Walleriana hybrids thrive in loose, moderately nutritious soil. Standard earth or a comparable substrate mixture are well suited. The plants are calcareous to calcareous and prefer acidic to slightly acidic, humic soils.
Always keep the soil moderately moist. Drying out is just as harmful as accumulating moisture.
Every one to two weeks, it is advisable to fertilize the diligent Lieschen in small doses.
The Impatiens Walleriana hybrids grow more compactly the more often their shoot tips are cut off together with the top two to four leaves (every 14 days). If some flowers are lost, it doesn’t matter: they sprout all the more.
Wintering or winter protection
The Impatiens Walleriana hybrids are usually cultivated for one year. It is usually only worthwhile for young plants to bring them over the winter. Place them in a bright, temperate place (10 to 15 degrees Celsius) in good time before the first frosts. Water the industrious Lieschen only moderately during the winter months. However, the substrate must never dry out completely.
Busy lice decorate pots, boxes as well as beds and borders. They are also suitable as Soil cover and grave planting. Purple bells (Heuchera) and ornamental grasses like the dainty sedges (Carex) go well with the colourful flowers of the Impatiens. Typical flowering partners are begonias and fuchsias. Use small planters for terraces and balconies: the closer the roots are, the more diligently the lice flower. On the balcony, an apricot yellow hanging begonia such as ‘Chardonnay’ and the pink-coloured industrious Lieschen are an exciting pair of colours. Both like it half-shady to shady. In the light shade, the signal-red flowers of the industrious Lieschens beside the fresh green fronds of the tortoise fern inspire. But the summer flowers also look great alone or mixed in two colours.
The numerous varieties of the industrious Lieschen are particularly varied and enjoy great popularity. The variety names are usually offered with a colour additive. These are usually F1 hybrids. Impatiens walleriana ‘Accent’ is available in white (‘Accent White’), red (‘Accent Burgundy’), pink (‘Accent Rose’), orange (‘Accent Orange’) or purple (‘Accent Violet Star’). The Impatiens walleriana ‘Futura’ series also captivates with a diverse colour spectrum. In the meantime, there are even series, which also run in the sun to top form like the small-flowered firelies ‘Firefly’.
Young plants can be grown from seeds. The seed is sown in March on the windowsill at 16 to 18 degrees Celsius in cultivated soil. Do not cover the seeds of the light buckets with soil and do not use permanent fertilizer. It is better to supply the diligent Lieschen with low-dose liquid fertiliser every 14 days. You should relax young plants. Since summer flowers are sensitive to cold, they may only be planted outdoors in mid-May. Choose a planting distance of 20 to 30 centimeters. Filled varieties are usually propagated from cuttings in late summer or spring.
Diseases and pests
The industrious Lieschen is extremely robust and resistant. Nevertheless, spider mites, white flies, aphids or weevils can occasionally occur. Grey mould and root rot are possible in stagnant water.
Whether fruit, vegetable and ornamental plants in the garden or indoor plants in the house: spider mites can infest and damage many different plants. Here René Wadas, a herbalist, will tell you his tips on how you can effectively fight the arachnids.Credits: Production: Folkert Siemens; Camera: Fabian Primsch; Editing: Dennis Fuhro, Photos: Flora Press/FLPA, GWI