IMPATIENS – Balsam
(Snap weeds) (Touch-me-not)
(Name from Impatiens, refers to elasticity of seed capsules, which when ripe spring open)
The Garden Balsam or Lady slipper (Impatiens balsamina) is an old-fashioned favorite which is again coming into its own. The double and semi-double sorts, well called Camellia-flowered, are practically the only ones grown. These plants are closely related to the wild Touch-menots and, like them, have characteristic seed pods which open suddenly when touched. The blooms are of many delicate colors-white, flesh pink, salmon, rose, purple, and violet. The plants grow 18 inches tall and the stems are juicy and thick.
Where to Plant. Balsams are rather formal plants of neat, compact habit. The flowers are produced close to the stem almost hidden among the leaves, and some gardeners remove a few of the leaves to better disclose the blossoms. The plant can be grouped in the border or used as low hedges. Some gardeners pot them for Summer porch decoration and claim they are as beautiful as Azaleas.
GENERAL. Seed may be sown indoors, as growing the plants in small pots for a few weeks will dwarf them and make them more compact. Or sow directly in the soil out of doors in May. The plants will cover 12 inches to 18 inches of space. The flowers grow nicely in well enriched sandy soil, and prefer full sunlight. They may be transplanted when in full bloom.