Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Congo Cockatoo, Parrot Plant, African Queen
Impatiens niamniamensis

Family: Balsaminaceae
Genus: Impatiens (im-PAY-shuns) (Info)
Species: niamniamensis (nee-um-nee-um-EN-sis) (Info)

Synonym:Impatiens congolensis

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

40 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade
Full Shade


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

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There are a total of 27 photos.
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22 positives
4 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Hoyamatta On Oct 13, 2014, Hoyamatta from Ann Arbor, MI wrote:

I've had my original plant for 3 years now. In the summer, I place it out on the deck where it receives indirect sunlight. I live in zone 6, so once it begins to get really cold at night (50F or lower) I haul it back in to the house. It was about 12 inches in height when I bought it's at least 3 feet in height. I love this plant. Not only is it beautifully unique, but cuttings root as easily and as fast as can be. I'm going to try my hand at starting them from seed since I just harvested quite a few the other day. I'll let you know how that works out. :D

Positive seawatch888 On Jan 11, 2014, seawatch888 from San Diego-ScrippsR, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Fascinating plant, have had mine for about 12 years. It was called African Queen. Interestingly there is also an African King, a companion plant. Grows in San Diego.

Positive FredGoldy On May 16, 2013, FredGoldy from Adelaide
Australia wrote:

I have been growing "Cocky" plants as we call them (they remind us of some of the cockatoos that frequent our large backyard) for ten years and have given out hundreds of cuttings to friends and neighbours over the years.
They are a difficult plant to grow here owing to the very hot and dry summers and the cold and wet winters, but we have managed to cultivate a number of very large specimens up until this year.
This year the summer was exceptionally hot with numerous days of over 40C temperatures and most of my 'cocky' plants died.
The weather at the moment (Autumn) is very cold and wet - it went from 10 days over 30C+ to days of only 15c almost overnight.
I have one plant left and have tried to cultivate cuttings but have had no success to date.
Would it be better to wait until spring before attempting to try again?

Positive persons On Jun 2, 2011, persons from Nanaimo
Canada wrote:

I love this plant. I have had it for about six months now. It started out with one stem and now has eight stems. It is loaded with beautiful flowers all over and very deep rich green leaves and about three feet talI. I keep the soil moist and turn the plant once a day other than that very little maintance.

Positive fionag On Feb 19, 2010, fionag from Lincoln
United Kingdom wrote:

i was given a parrot plant in August 2009 it was 4 inches high since then on my kitchen window it has done great except just recently it has gone a bit sad (ie the leaves are wilting) has anyone got any ideas of why this is hapening. Also it has outgrown the window sill and not sure where to move it? What a great plant i realy find it interesting.

Neutral dudette2001uk On Nov 21, 2009, dudette2001uk from Haverfordwest
United Kingdom wrote:


I've recently acquired a congo Cockatoo parrot plant, but I'm unsure about how to care fo it. I've been reading the comments, but I was hoping somebody would be able to tell me what I need to feed this plant with. This is my first attempt at growing a houseplant (shocking I know!) and I really don't want to kill it off! Do I need fertiliser/plant food, and if so, what type? Also what size pot does this plant need?

It came through the post, so it was in quite a bit of shock when it arrived, but since then it has started to perk up. I've been keeping it watered, but I need to know howto look after it :-)

If anybody could help I'd be grateful!

Many thanks,


Positive MTVineman On May 3, 2009, MTVineman from Helena, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:

I love this plant and have not had any problems growing it at all. I grow it as a houseplant and put it outside in partial shade during the warm months. In my experience, it seems to like morning sun best and then shady the rest of the day. Too much strong sun will burn the poor thing up. My plants tend to do very well and I have one that is over 3 feet tall and loaded with blooms. I feed it regularly and keep it very moist and misted. Seems to like that. I've noticed a lot of comments from people who are confused as to how to collect seed from this plant. Like all Impatiens plants, the seed pod explodes when ripe so the seeds go flying all over the place. Much like an Oxalis seedpod. Put a plastic bag over an almost ripe seedpod (or the whole plant, if you like) and the seed can be easily collected when the pod does indeed ripen and explode. A beautiful and easily grown plant!

Positive gm_colin On Mar 30, 2008, gm_colin from bowmanville
Canada wrote:

I have 2 parrot plants growing in southeast windows in my kitchen. They are 3-4 ft. tall. As of late , many of the leaves have turned yellow and died.I have repotted and fertilized them but they don't seem any better.Both plants continue to flower top to bottom.I don't see any signs of infestation.

Positive tmonster On Dec 3, 2007, tmonster from Atascadero, CA wrote:

I purchased my Congo Cockatoo at the Farmer's market in San Luis Obispo It's doing great ...I keep it indoors. But it was getting very long and leggy. I took other people's advise to cut it back. It hasn't hurt the plant at all, but all of my cuttings died! I tried rooting some of them in water. When they started roots, I put them in soil. But they died. I also tried some of the cutting in rooting compound and soil, but those died too. And the plant still has the tendency to get leggy and lean over at odd angles. But it has plenty of blooms and the leaves have good color...even in December! I think I am going to have to keep at it by trial and error. But I would love the plant to be bushy and full like I have seen in pictures.

Neutral fthrhead On Aug 1, 2006, fthrhead from Paso Robles, CA wrote:

I recieved my Parrot plant in the mail. it was in extreme shock, completely limp to the point of falling over. It had been delivered in correcty and sat in a plastic trash can in 106 degree heat for 3 hrs. It has since recovered somewhat. It is growing (rather lanky) blooming, but the leaves keep curling like a peach leaf curl. The second branch looks fine so far.


Positive orkidlady On Feb 19, 2006, orkidlady from Drumheller, AB (Zone 2a) wrote:

Hi there,

I have this plant and it gets afternoon sun and I have a metal halide lamp on for six hours a day and it is loaded with blooms right now.

I took a cutting off of the top even though it is in bloom and it has not harmed it at all. I did find when I put the cutting into the soil I had to put it in a bag to create some humidity...I think I left it on there for two days and now his little head is up and looking mighty fine.

Positive dwindlow On Nov 15, 2005, dwindlow from Melbourne
Australia wrote:

I can't remember where I came by my cutting - probably from a collector of exotic plants who is a friend of my Father. Most off the notes on this site talk about "seed" for propagating. I just lop a bit off, apply some hormone/growth powder and wack it in a pot. I've never had a failure to strike. This plant (in our climate) is a woos (read timid) if it is not watered frequently. It does not cope well with direct sun and in fact does best with little or no sun (remembering that we have a very warm climate in the Spring/Summer (15-40+) and cold Winters typically 5-10 degrees). Spectacular colouring for most of the year and a joy. It's a great talking point and people love to receive a cutting. I have them growing to a metre and beyond.

Positive elisa_y On Mar 21, 2005, elisa_y from Hamilton
New Zealand wrote:

I just bought this plant last week and I opened seedball but cannot find seeds.

Positive blair23 On Dec 27, 2004, blair23 from St. John's
Canada wrote:

I got the parrot plant during september of this year and put it straight into soil and kept the soil moist, and never had a problem with it.

Positive cinker On Aug 24, 2004, cinker from Dartmouth
Canada wrote:

I would like to say that my Parrot Plant is the most beautiful plant I've ever had in my house. I was given a slip from my hair dresser's Aunt a year ago, and it just flourished. It's been the biggest conversational piece in my house. Parrot Plants do grow in Nova Scotia

Positive donna40 On Aug 7, 2004, donna40 from Simcoe
Canada wrote:

I have many of these plants indoors. I have had to learn about them through trial and error. They are very prone to infestations of spider mites. In the past, I used a commercial spray to treat them, but they died anyway. I now have learned that as soon as I spot a web, I spray with a solution of mild dishsoap and water. I sit them in the bath tub for this treatment, wait 30 minutes and then spray it off with clean water. I now have some 2-3 feet high and they are doing great!

Negative cbgadget On Jul 27, 2004, cbgadget from Toronto
Canada wrote:

I can only think that my thumb is not as green as it should be. I aquired my Parrot Plant by way of stem and it seemed to be doing well for a while. It was growing tall with a very thing stem. I was advised to clip the top to "fatten up the stem" and did so, however, all the new stems that grew (total of 4) are also very thin. They tend to lean over as if it cannot carry it's own weight. The clipping that I rooted from it's parent plant was potted and started growing thin as well. Then all of a sudden the leaves wilted and the stem fell over and it died on me.

Positive Sue7 On Jul 19, 2004, Sue7 from manchester
United Kingdom wrote:

I bought this plant from a school fair. It is wonderful, but I am not sure whether it is an indoor or outdoor plant.At the moment I have the plant on my kitchen window sill and it has doubled it's height in 3 weeks as well as thickening out. Is it a case of here in the U.K. It is covered in buds at the moment, so I don't want to disturb it too much.

Positive jeanne50 On Jun 13, 2004, jeanne50 from Dalton, GA wrote:

I got this plant this year and it was doing great. Then I went off for a week (left plenty of water) but the leaves are now looking spotty like it has a bug. Sprayed it for bugs and put it on my front porch where it will get more sun. It has been in a screened in porch - bright lite but no direct sun. other than that it is a great plant. when I received it in the mail a stem broke off and I just stuck it into the pot and it grew with no special care. wonderful!
really like the flowers!

Positive novascotia On Mar 20, 2004, novascotia wrote:

I obtained my parrot plant by a clipping a friend of mine gave me. It seemed easy enough to grow with lots of sun through a window and lots of water. I 'm interested in seed production/ collection. There is a small blurb about seeds on this site, but i have no idea where or how to collect them. What i though was pollen may be the seeds but I'm not sure. I've tried dusting flower to flower with a brush to see what would happen but nothing did.

Positive carmen1 On Dec 5, 2003, carmen1 wrote:

I am living in South Africa and had a surprisingly difficult time acquiring this plant.
However, about a month ago I managed to get hold of one and have managed to propogate about 12 plants from it with stem cuttings.
What a conversation piece! And how beautiful it looks around my pond, it has created a truly tropical feel!

Positive volper On Nov 18, 2003, volper wrote:

A friend brought me this plant near dead .his wife sprayed for mites and got carried away.I nursed it back to health plus made 5 more through stem cutting all of which are blooming like crazy, they like 10-52-10 when they are blooming.

Positive crew On Sep 7, 2003, crew wrote:

I bought this plant at a flea market in northern Ontario, and I planted it in a bed facing west (in southern Ontario.) It has rooted and taken off well. At some point a rabbit took out the centre shoot, and this worried me. Within two weeks the centre was growing back! I find the red yellow and green blooms absolutely beautiful.

Positive bomber On Jul 30, 2003, bomber wrote:

From one small shoot I acquired, I have grown hundreds of full grown plants, ranging in height from 3 feet to over 5 feet. I took an offshoot from the plant and put it into water for up to 7 days to root, then transferred it to a pot of compost. Plenty of sunlight and water, with no cold or drafts have produced excellent conditions to grow. If it's too cold or not enough water the leaves tend to droop and sag, a good sign the plant is not happy.

The only problem is the pods drop off at regular intervels which can be messy on carpets. Looks absolutly beautiful when in full bloom.

Positive chancel On Jun 17, 2003, chancel from middlesbrough
United Kingdom wrote:

Plant was given to me as a cutting...Blooms repeatedly..Eye catcher..The picture does not do it justice. Indoor potted plant. Cuttings easily taken.

Neutral bluebelle On Nov 5, 2002, bluebelle wrote:

I planted some seeds of Impatiens niamniamensis a couple of months ago. I had collected the seeds from a friend's plant. I got a good germination rate and the first two plants have just started to bloom...what a surprise! They are nothing like the yellow, green, and red flowers of the parent plant. They look like ordinary pinkish-purple Busy Lizzie's in every way. The plants which haven't flowered yet look different: some have green leaves with red mottling, some have leaves with prominent whiskers, in general the leaves are longer and more pointed at the tip and a darker green. I'm hoping that these will have the flowers like the parent plant, which I guess must have been a hybrid.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 4, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

In doing some research on this plant, I found the following on the University of Connecticut web site:

An unusual frost-tender succulent shrub from tropical East Africa. This species grows to 3 ft (1 m) tall. Each flower has a curled spur and the color changes along their length; the flower color also varies from plant to plant.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Atascadero, California
Elk Grove, California
Lake Nacimiento, California
Richmond, California
Salinas, California
San Diego, California
Portland, Oregon
Cibolo, Texas

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