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


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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





This plant is resistant to deer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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?...


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.


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 l... read more


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.


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 w... read more