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PlantFiles: Shrub Balsam, Poor Man's Orchid, Poor Man's Rhododendron
Impatiens sodenii

Family: Balsaminaceae
Genus: Impatiens (im-PAY-shuns) (Info)
Species: sodenii

Synonym:Impatiens oliveri

One vendor has this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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By Baa
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There are a total of 10 photos.
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3 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive BayAreaTropics On May 14, 2010, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

None of the photos show this plant at its best in size and color. When you get it just right in the yard..people have mistaken it for Plumeria. Maybe it should be called poor man's Plumeria in certain climates?...

Positive lilystorm On Dec 30, 2005, lilystorm from San Jose, CA wrote:

I have the white (alba) form and frost hasn't killed it yet. We've had a couple of nights in the low 30s and the plants are still going strong and even blooming a little. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

The large dark green leaves are a nice foil for the white flowers.

Neutral sanity101 On Aug 30, 2005, sanity101 from Dublin, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Excellent self seeding annual in the north. It grows freely in part sun or sun, and reseeds *very*'ll never have to re-plant. The fleshy stems are very similar to the varieties of impatients commonly used as a shady annual, but it is taller, and more leafy.

Overall very easy to grow, it will take over if you let it, but a pre-emergent weed-killer will get rid of it easily, and the seeds do not spread far. Benefits from thinning, but also grows fine without it. Sprouts early, then flowers and seeds for most of the summer.

The hanging seed pods 'pop' and curl up when squeezed, making it a good plant for children.

If you wish to collect seed, wait until the seed pods begin to turn pale yellow (they will not 'dry'), if you wait too long, the seed pods will 'pop' on their own, scattering the seeds.

Positive dho1655 On Oct 28, 2003, dho1655 from Belvedere Tiburon, CA wrote:

Plant is deer-resistant, self-seeds though not invasive & extremely easy to grow. Good shade shrub that'll bloom practically all year round.

Neutral Baa On Jun 17, 2003, Baa wrote:

A large, shrubby, almost succulent perennial, native to part of East Africa.

Has toothed, glossy, lance shaped leaves. Bears large (up to 2.5 inches across), pale pink, lilac or white flowers with flattened faces that unfold from a seashell like bud. Each flower bears a long spur.

Flowers practically all year in the right conditions but mainly in the summer months.

Loves a moist, well drained soil in light to partial shade.

Despite the fact that this chap can reach 10ft tall, it's very tender and won't stand temperatures much below 50F/10C. It must come indoors if you want to keep it in areas where frost is expected. Saying that, in some areas of the world this is considered a noxious weed. It's incredibly easy from cuttings and will self sow in abundance where winters are very mild.

The plant in the above photo is from a fairly young cutting, already it's close on 2ft high and has several branches.


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

Belvedere Tiburon, California
Berkeley, California
Del Mar, California
Hayward, California
Huntington Beach, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
Dublin, Ohio

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