One of the easiest ways to have great-looking impatiens is to prune them. Interestingly, the technique remains consistent whether you are growing them in beds, pots, hanging pouches, or planters. Once they hit a height of approximately 10 inches (25 cm) and begin to flower, it is time to trim them back. You will typically find yourself pruning your impatiens for the first time in the middle of summer. However, you may need to start earlier or later than that, depending on how tall your impatiens have grown. Pruning impatiens is a fairly simple process that you complete by removing spent blooms and cutting back the leaves, particularly in the center of the plant.
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3 Steps to Pruning Impatiens Flowers
Pruning ensures that impatiens will spread out instead of growing tall and spindly. If you allow your impatiens to get too leggy, you may have to trim them back to a few inches above the ground to completely remedy the problem, and this can set back their growth. It’s better to follow the simple tips below and prune your impatiens before they get out of hand.
Pinch off the Top Stems
To begin the pruning process, pinch off the top stems after your impatiens have bloomed and faded. This process is also referred to as “deadheading.” The key when deadheading is to remove the wilted flowers and stems. This encourages new flowers to grow.
- Pinch off the top of the stems after your impatiens have faded.
- Deadhead each flower individually.
- Complete this step on a regular basis during the growing season.
Although impatiens are usually self-cleaning, they benefit greatly from manual deadheading. This step should be completed regularly throughout the growing season.
Remove Dead Foliage
When you remove the flowers through the “deadheading” process, don’t forget to remove dead or brown leaves as well. This will not weaken the plant. Removing dead leaves actually helps the plant resist disease and concentrate on new growth.
- Remove brown or dying leaves from your impatiens after dead flowers have been pinched off.
- Eliminating dead foliage strengthens your plant.
- Prune your impatiens by using sharp, clean pruning shears.
Use sharp pruning shears whenever you are pruning your impatiens. Clean cuts with shears allow your plant to heal quickly. Pulling or twisting dead foliage off your plants can contribute to plant damage and disease.
Cut Back Leggy Plants
Beginning in midsummer, cut back any impatiens that have become leggy. Cut them back to 3 inches (7.5 cm) from the ground. Although this may seem like a severe length to cut to, your impatiens will grow back fuller and stronger when this technique is used.
- Cut back any impatiens that have become leggy by mid-summer.
- Cut spindly, straggling, or leggy impatiens to 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall.
- Focus on center leaves when cutting back impatiens
- Skip this step if plants are growing fully and not spindly.
Focus on the center leaves, since cutting back in the center produces more fullness in the plants overall. However, if your impatiens are not spindly and are already growing in a full manner, you can skip this step.
When Should You Cut Back Impatiens?
Typically, impatiens should be cut back beginning in the middle of summer. However, the best time to complete this task is whenever you notice your flowers growing in a tall, spindly manner.
- Cut impatiens back by the middle of summer as a general rule.
- Complete this task before mid-summer if plants are growing leggy.
- Full impatiens require less pruning, but they still benefit from deadheading.
If your impatiens are not leggy, it is not necessary to cut them back at all. Deadheading is always important. However, cutting your impatiens back is not necessary if your flowers are growing out rather than up. If this is the case, cutting them back may do more harm than good.
Do You Cut Back Impatiens in Winter?
Impatiens do not need to be cut back in winter because they typically won’t grow after the first frost. However, it is important to cut them back properly in the fall, preferably before freezing temperatures arrive.
- There’s no need to cut impatiens back in winter.
- Cut your impatiens back in the fall, just prior to the first frost.
- If you did not prune before the first frost, do not cut your impatiens during winter.
Trimming impatiens in fall will allow them to survive some colder weather and have a good chance of coming out of the dormant season with new life. Cut your impatiens down to within 3 inches (7.5 cm) of the plant’s base just before the first frost sets in.
How Do You Prune Impatiens Flowers?
Pruning impatiens is one of the best and easiest ways to keep them looking great. You should begin pruning once your impatiens grow to a height of 10 inches (25 cm) and produce their first flowers. Here’s how to prune them:
- Begin pruning impatiens in mid-summer.
- “Deadhead” impatiens by removing old blossoms that have wilted.
- Use pruning shears to remove dead or dying leaves and stems.
- If your impatiens are spindly, cut them back to 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall.
- When cutting back the leaves and stems of impatiens, focus on the leaves in the center of the plant.
These simple tips will allow you to keep your impatiens healthy and thriving. You’ll get more blossoms this way and you’ll avoid growing leggy, sprawling impatiens. Instead, you’ll cultivate beautiful, bushy impatiens.