By Dirk Coburn, Horticultural Specialist at Weston Nurseries
This year Weston Nurseries is carrying several flowering shade annuals including New Guinea Impatiens, Waxy Begonias, and others as alternatives to the classic and well-loved Impatiens. But we are not carrying plain Impatiens. It may be several years before Impatiens is again a good choice in our area. Here is why.
In 2012, much of New England (and other parts of the east) was afflicted with Downy Mildew. This fungal disease travels on what epidemiologists call many “vectors”: in wind, on insects, on birds’ feet, in living or dead plant material that has been infected. The most widespread host for Downy Mildew is Impatiens.
Downy Mildew spread like wildfire through the Impatiens in our area last year. The best “cure” for Downy Mildew is time. It can be up to 5 or 6 years before the spores that linger in an area become largely stale and do not germinate reliably.
Until that time has come back to our area, Weston Nurseries encourages you to come talk with our experts in annual plants to try new species and to develop the best annuals strategy for your garden beds. The alternatives that we are carrying are not susceptible to Downy Mildew.