How large a planter should you plant Next Generation sunpatiens?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Debbie in Texas: The very popular impatiens is no longer just a shade-loving plant. Sunpatiens are a newer hybrid impatiens that thrive in sun and part shade. They may not be considered an annual where you are gardening, but for those of us in Kentucky these annuals will soon be available in our local garden centers. Sunpatiens can be grown in the ground or in a container. They prefer to grow in moist, well-drained soil and require no dead-heading. As for how many plants to put in a container, this will depend on the size of the container, the pot size you purchase the sunpatiens in, and whether or not you are making a mixed container or a single planting. Here is the thing about creating a beautiful container: it should look full and lush when you have finished planting it. Yes, the plants will grow larger and fill in but the roots of the plants can grow down as opposed to out so planting them close together at the soil surface is just fine. I am not saying to cram them in there but do not leave too much empty space either. Leaving about ½ inch between plants is fine. Make sure to plant all the way to the edge of the container. Start from the middle and work your way outward. If you are planting a combination of plants, place the taller ones in the center, the more compact around the center plants, and the cascading ones on the edge of the planter. There are three series of sunpatiens, vigorous, compact, and mounding/spreading forms, and all have different growing habits. The compact and mounding forms are best for containers. The compact will be more dense and bushy, reaching 2-3 feet tall, and the mounding/spreading form will grow 30-40 inches tall and 3 feet wide, so it would be good in a hanging basket.