Impatiens are a mainstay in my flower gardens and from what I’ve read, they’re the number one bedding plant sold in the United States. Every spring I purchase several flats to brighten the borders of my flower gardens and intersperse into some garden terraces on a slopping hillside.
My Mother is a knowledgeable gardener and has been collecting and trading seeds for a few years. This summer/fall I started doing the same. Some of the flowers make it easy to collect seeds. Others, like the Impatiens, require a little more patience. Impatiens seeds can be collected from the flowers after the growing season when the pods develop at the ends of the stems.
When collecting the pods, it is a good idea to put something over the pod before picking it, because it will possibly pop open in the process of picking. I carefully placed a clear zip lock bag over them so I could see the pod and catch any seeds if it popped in the process. The first one I picked popped in my hand and startled me! :-)
The seeds of the Impatiens are inside the spiral that pops open and they are very tiny. I find that working over a white paper plate is the best way to see and save them.
Every year I have volunteer Impatiens scattered throughout my gardens, but I never knew how they re-seeded. Now I know. The seed pods are so impatient that they pop open and freely re-seed my beds. Isn’t that thoughtful of them? ;-) I’ve also noticed that it takes the volunteer plants a lot longer in Spring/Summer to establish themselves and bloom. I live in Hardiness Zone 6B. Since this is my first attempt to collect Impatiens seeds, I’m looking forward to letting them dry and helping them with an earlier start indoors next Spring.
Also, be advised that a nick-name for Impatiens is “Deer Candy.” We have white-tailed deer in our area and they love to raid the gardens. Impatiens are one of their favorite snacks. So consider yourself warned. You may have to put in a deer defense system to enjoy having Impatiens in your garden.
Since this is my first attempt at collecting, drying and starting Impatiens seeds, I’ll give you an update next Spring/Summer. I’ll be starting them inside about 10 weeks before our last frost.