Impatiens Species, Balfour's Touch Me Not, Balfour's Impatien, Poor Man's Orchid

Impatiens balfourii

Family: Balsaminaceae
Genus: Impatiens (im-PAY-shuns) (Info)
Species: balfourii (bal-FOR-ee-eye) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Pale Pink



White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; direct sow after 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:


Florence, Alabama

Alameda, California

Albany, California

Aptos, California

Arroyo Grande, California

Auburn, California

Brea, California

Calistoga, California

Cazadero, California

Clayton, California

Elk Grove, California

Eureka, California

Fremont, California

Martinez, California

Newport Beach, California

Redwood City, California

Richmond, California

Rohnert Park, California

Sacramento, California

San Jose, California (2 reports)

Santa Clara, California

Santa Cruz, California

Wilmington, Delaware

Evanston, Illinois

Indianapolis, Indiana

Barbourville, Kentucky

Minneapolis, Minnesota

New Paltz, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Oregon City, Oregon

Portland, Oregon (2 reports)

Salem, Oregon

Mountville, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Summerville, South Carolina

Houston, Texas

Spokane, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 12, 2019, Tillamook_Weeds from Tillamook, OR wrote:

This species has been identified at the State Level in Oregon for monitoring. Contrary to a few reports here, it is an extremely invasive plant. Correctly stated is the ease of pulling....consequently, this means it doesnt hold soil well.

Populations of Impatiens balfourii present a huge risk for erosion when it establishes on streambanks.

Please do not plant this plant!


On Dec 5, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This species has become invasive in Europe and has naturalized in wild areas in various parts of North America.


On May 12, 2015, Cheryl83 from Portland, OR wrote:

I love everything about this plant. I once gardened in borrowed space on a city lot. A passerby gifted me with a seedling. They called it Dizzy Lizzy. Years later, another passerby gifted me with its Latin name: impatiens balfourii.

They are prolific re-seeders, but not in an invasive way. Their reappearance in the spring is always welcome. When I moved plants from the borrowed space to my new home in a January, I was overjoyed in May to see that seeds from the balfourii had made the journey as well! They have thrived here, ever since, for the past 14 years. I live in the Willamette Valley on the West Coast.

The common name, Dizzy Lizzy, suits them to a tee. Their blossoms dangle from the plant and seem to dance whenever there is a breeze or ... read more


On Apr 12, 2013, francesseth from Evanston, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

A neighbor gave me this plant originally. She called it 'wild orchid.' It fills in beautifully around other plants. It is easy to pull out if there are too many. It grows in full shade, part-shade and part-sun (with sufficient watering). It blooms from August to frost. I live in Evanston, Illinois.


On Oct 25, 2012, Domehomedee from Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

A friend brought me one of these and every year after that I had more and more in my yard. I would simply pull out the ones that were in the way. Well I guess one year I pulled too many out, too soon and they were all gone. I am glad to say this coming spring I will be seeding these little gems back into my yard. I miss them.
They are simply a wonderful way to fill up the shade.


On May 14, 2010, Kim_M from Hamburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Last Year was the first time I had ever seen this plant face to face in full Bloom. What a lovely plant. Blooms straight into the first frost. It is here to stay for me..Although it is one of those annuals that prefers cold/moist treatment to germinate. All of mine actually germinated a 38 degrees.


On Mar 3, 2009, Susan_C from Alameda, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I winter sowed Impatiens balfourii five or six years ago. It winter sowed beautifully, and when the time came, I planted out my six pack of plants. Those few little plants self-sowed, and ever since, I've had hundreds and hundreds of I. balfourii plants in my garden. (-I wouldn't call them invasive at all, though. They don't crowd out other plants and are easy to pull where you don't want them.) I think they are stunning and many people comment on them. My neighbor asked me if they were some type of orchid, which is funny, since poor man's orchid is one of their common names.


On Aug 4, 2008, clytia from Santa Cruz, CA wrote:

I picked this little plant up at a yard sale, where the woman had them coming up as an undergrowth. I love this little plant. It reseeds like crazy, and it's fun to collect the seeds with kids, due to the way the pods corkscrew. In Santa Cruz Ca, they do best in a bright shade. They will reluctantly tolerate SOME sun, but not too hot. And it's unusual enough that people ask what it is.


On May 29, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

zone 4a hardy - same things as above - will reseed itself in the oddest place. True annual, seeds survive winter and then germinates. Sometimes I mistook their seedlings for certain weeds like member of the pokeweed family.


On Aug 4, 2004, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

Our first few years of gardening down here we almost eradicated these little beauties as weeds.
It seems they don't grow in our former area 60 miles north.

Luckily a few made it thru to flower and the weeding stopped immediately.

They are very easy to grow and reseed quite prolifically.
But as our weeding testifies very easy to keep in check.


On Apr 15, 2004, ifiranthezoo from Florence, AL wrote:

These are really wonderful if you want to fill a bed quickly on a budget because they spread like wild fire. I have 3 colors mixed (purple, pink, and red) and they are a lovely show when all in bloom! I'm in Alabama zone 7.


On Aug 27, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Reseeds prolifically, but seedlings are easily removed. A lovely filler in and among other tropicals with afternoon shade.


On Jul 31, 2002, MCecilioni wrote:

I got my first plant from a friend and continue the tradition by sharing plants and seeds. I have both red and pink, and thoroughly enjoy the plants in Ga. from June to first frost. Hummingbird and butterfly attractor. Easy to collect seeds from pods which open when pressed lightly.


On Jun 16, 2002, jcurtis wrote:

We live in northern Alberta (Fort McMurray). We receive a lot of sun .Sunrise 4:32 am sunset 10:18 pm today June 16. I started with three plants, and planted them along a fence. The soil for six inches is good top soil but then turns to clay. I had trouble growing plants. Annuals were stunted and never a good show. The touch me nots did well the tallest growing 84inches and many blooms. They hid the fence and gave our patio a very private feeling. They self seed freely, and if the are growing were I don't want them they are easy to pull out. The flowers are exotic looking, the stalks are large and red, it is also fun to ask an unsuspecting person to touch the seed pods as they burst in their fingers. Kids love them.


On Aug 1, 2001, Zanymuse from Scotia, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant is a tender perennial that reseeds itself freely in damp shady areas. Seeds are tiny and collection is difficult.