Bagonias vs. impatience

Roswell, GA

I have a big shady area and want to fill it with colorful plants that can withstand a lot of shade. I am tempted to use impatience. All my neighbors use impatience. My wife tells me I should consider bagonias. She says they are less maintenance, not as fragile and don't require as much watering. Is there anyone out there who can back up what my wife is telling me?

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Here is some info for you. I use both and prefer the hardy begonias and New Guinea impatiens. I find the begonias to require a little less water, but the NG impatiens have such wonderful color they are worth the little extra care.I also like to use Balsam in shady areas.

Rolesville, NC(Zone 7b)

I love New Guinea impatiens too. And don't forget Coleus. Who needs flowers with leaves like that?

Houston, TX

I completely agree w/plantfreak78!! I do utilize begonias & impatiens, but the bulk of my shady area (& there is quite a bit) is colored w/coleus. There is such a variety of colors & you can just pinch them back to make them bushy.

There are a few that I've multiplied just by taking cuttings. I'd read that they are one of the easiest plants to propagate that way & it is so true! I keep a couple in the kitchen window & just fill in places that need them w/cuttings from those guys. They gave me the nerve to experiment w/other plants.

Try them out & you should be quite pleased. (Most work well in both sunny and shady areas; the coloring they take on is just different.)

btw - In our Houston drought & heat the ones in the shade do quite well; the ones in direct sunlight most of the day do, of course, require a little upkeep w/watering, but nothing extreme.

This message was edited Mar 18, 2013 11:32 PM

Fort Mill, SC(Zone 7b)

Oh man, I have just discovered coleus. It's an explosion of color in the shade, and I'm in love with it. I'm really new to all this, so is this something I can take cuttings of and take indoors over the winter to start again next year? I'm finding a lack of information on the stuff I've just planted all over. (I've got it all over the front beds to fill in the spots between all new shrubs--small purple loropetalum and kaleidoscope abelia... and the coleus picks up all of those colors.)

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

I have discovered that not all of the links in this site work, some that don't you can cut and paste....but the pictures are coleus eyecandy...

Apopka, FL

Impatiens are so boring! And they get leggy! Why not try something different? How about some caladiums with some hostas? Or maybe a border of mondo around caladiums? Caladiums come back year after year. And mondo will give the area something to enjoy all year long. Mondo alone is boring but it makes a great border.As mentioned in other posts, coleus is a good choice, but it too will get leggy if you don't pinch it back. Make sure you get a shade variety. If you decide to go with begonias, go with either a dragon wing begonia or maybe a non-stop begonia. They are much more stunning than the standard stuff.
Below is a recent article of other shade plants that was in the Washington Post.

Whatever you do, good luck! There are lots of great choices out there.

Rolesville, NC(Zone 7b)

*Caladiums will probably not come back for Umgowa (unless Roswell, GA is zone 9 or higher). Adding your cold hardiness zone to your profile info could be quite helpful for both of you in the future. I know exactly where Apopka is because my mom was raised there and I believe it would be zone 9. I'm betting Roswell is an 8.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Yup, I am on the border of 8b-9a and caladiums are iffy here due to wet winters.

Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

Roswell is 7 or 8. It's on the north side of Atlanta and gets pretty chilly. I live on the south side and have been told caladiums do not come back here. Darn it! LOL I love those things!

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

You can always use caladiums in containers and just move them to a protected spot for winter, like a garage. It is the moisture and cold combined that kill them. I have had some in a pot for 2 or 3 years now...

I love begonias, but they are very delicate...touch them the wrong way and the flower and stem falls right off.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

I happen to love Impatiens when I want a super-lot of color for very little cost. I have a lot of shade so I plant different types of plants, annuals, perennials and bulbs, but way in the back of my yard there's an area that I like to use brightly colored impatiens as a border. If they get leggy, you can cut them back a bit & soon they'll rebloom. They do need to be watered, though.

Another thing to consider. . .If you have deer around ( I do...lots) Impatiens are like candy to them. I swear by Liquid Fence for all the plants that they'll eat. The deer don't seem to bother the Begonias.

I also buy flats of Coleus in assorted colors. Kong Coleus is like Coleus on steroids. They are beautiful large Coleus with huge leaves & can also take some sun.

Umgowa - have you considered adding any perennials? There are many colorful ones that will come back year-after-year & you can fill in with annuals as well.

Bluestone Perennials has a feature on their website that allows you to put in your conditions like amount of sun or shade, soil conditions, etc. & there's no obligation to buy anything, but you'll be amazed at how many perennials come up.

Gainesville, GA(Zone 8a)

I live in Gainesville, zone 7/8 and I've had my caladium come back a couple of years in a row. Probably not as full as they would be further south but so beautiful!

Albany, NY(Zone 5a)

I'm in zone 5 and planted caladium; and....nothing. the squirrels kept digging them out and I keep putting the bulbs back, haven't seen any lately, but I'm sad. They dug out my bare root hostas I planed too so it seems like all I'll get this year is blazing stars

Houston, TX

Oh, sorry so slow, but in response to TeacherAmy, yes, you can pull in cuttings & work w/those in the spring. Here in south Texas it doesn't really dip into freezing temps for too long, so most of the ones outside do ok. Earlier this year, though, we had an extended freeze that killed all of my little guys outside.

Still, I normally take some cuttings into the house in November or December & keep the pots on the window sills. Those always do ok & you can begin taking more cuttings from those as the weeks pass. Before you know it you'll have plenty to plant outside. I keep my absolute favorites in the window sill year-round just for insurance; they will always be there & ready to multiply. :)

One that I keep safe in the window sill is this one:
[btw - I have lots of pots that are right where the shadow lines fall (from the roof of the house) & the ones in permanent shade lean more towards the purple shade while the ones that get sunlight lean more towards the yellow & green colors.]

Fort Mill, SC(Zone 7b)

Since I'm new, I wanted to clarify "take a cutting". Does that mean cutting a piece off the plant and then putting that into its own pot & soil? Or do you put it into water?

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Yes Ma'am. You make a cutting at least 4inches long, strip the lower leaves (I usually only leave two or three) and use a bit of Rootone (rooting hormone) if ya have it (not a necessity) on the cut end. Use a pencil to poke a hole in the soil, add your cutting and firm the dirt around it. water well and keep the soil moist...not wet. i read an article about rooting plants that said "water" roots were different from "soil" roots and that some plants actually have to start forming roots all over again when they go from water to soil. Oh, and no fertilizer until the plants have actively growing roots.

Ventress, LA(Zone 8b)

Howl: thanks for the lead on coleus finder. I have been looking for something like that. Now I could increase my collection of 3 coleus plants to a zillion.

Oakdale, CT

A note on impatiens-a powdery mildew started attacking impatiens this past summer. It kills the plants and there is currently no preventive or recovery method available. The disease seems to be widespread and many nurseries in my area (Northeast) have lost their entire stock. Be careful when purchasing these plants.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I lost some of mine last summer and all of them this year. Now I'm trying to decide what to do next year. This is where I'll miss them the most. The first two pics are from this summer before the blight hit. In the third, from last year, you can see there's a problem. In both cases by the end of the summer the flowers were all gone and the ends of the stems looked kind of shriveled and discolored. :((


This message was edited Dec 9, 2012 12:00 AM

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