Chinese Balsam (Impatiens chinensis) – Flowering plants
Chinese Balsam (Impatiens chinensis) is a small annual herb that grows up to 12-24 inches tall. The erect stem is reddish in color, prostrate at the base, slender, hairless. Nodes are slightly swollen, with adventitious roots. It has oppositely arranged, linear- lance-shaped leaves that are gray-green below, green on the upper side, rigidly papery. The leaf margin has widely separated spiny teeth. It produces large, purple-red, or white flowers that arise either singly or 2-3 fascicled in leaf axils. It blooms in June-August.
Species: I. chinensis
Scientific Name: Impatiens chinensis
Synonyms: Impatiens setacea, Impatiens cosmia
Common Name: Chinese Balsam
How to grow and care for Chinese Balsam (Impatiens chinensis)
It thrives best in bright light to partial shade. In an area with very hot summers, plant them in partial shade, or shade them from the afternoon sun. An excessive amount of sun may cause browning of foliage, though a lot of shade may make the balsam plant leggy and flowerless.
Chinese Balsam grows well in an evenly moist, organically rich, well-drained, peat moss-based potting mix.
Water regularly, Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Flowering plants are thirsty, and they dry out quickly in containers, so check them often. Impatiens will quickly wilt if they are allowed to dry out.
It prefers average room temperatures 60°F – 75°F / 16°C – 24°C. In winter do not let the temperature fall below 13°C (55°F).
Fertilize every two weeks from spring through fall with a high-potassium liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
It can be easily propagated by seed or stem cuttings. Sow impatiens seeds in spring or early summer. Germination takes 10 to 20 days at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Take 10 cm stem tip cuttings in spring or summer. They’ll root easily in water or moist soil.
Pests and Diseases:
Impatiens are susceptible to Spider mites, flower thrips, root-knot nematode, whiteflies, and aphids, especially under glass. Caterpillars outdoors. Gray mold, impatiens necrotic spot virus, fungal leaf spots, Rhizoctonia stem rot, Pseudomonas leaf spot, and Verticillium Wilt. If insect or disease problems occur, treat early with organic or chemical insect repellents and fungicide.
Benefits of Chinese Balsam
The entire plant is utilized medicinally for relieving fever and pain, removing toxic materials, promoting blood circulation, treating diarrhea, curing urinary infections, and healing carbuncles. In Manipur, the plant is used externally in burns and taken internally with milk in gonorrhea.