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What Causes Impatiens to Wilt? 5 Reasons Unearthed!

What Causes Impatiens to Wilt? 5 Reasons Unearthed!

Impatiens have bright and colorful blooms and can thrive in low light conditions. Their remarkable bright colors and ability to grow in shady places makes them look like vibrant beacons of light among the dark.

Impatiens are a resistant species and do not require much care to thrive. Also known as Busy Lizzie, they are popularly grown as annuals and houseplants because they are beautiful and so easy to grow.

However, troubles can sometimes spring up, causing your Impatiens to wilt.


What Causes Impatiens to Wilt?

There can be a range of reasons behind an unhappy Impatiens plant. The most common causes are excessive heat and/or overwatering, which results in root rot, which hinders the plant’s ability to absorb enough water. However, there can be fungus-related issues troubling your Impatiens, such as mildew, verticillium wilt. Pests such as nematodes or cutworms can also be the culprit.



Impatiens like the temperature between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit (18-21 degrees Celsius). Temperatures highly above or below this range can cause the plants to die.

In summers, if Impatiens are exposed to too much sun, they will wilt and die almost instantly. Hence, it is crucial to provide them with a cool shady place and keep the soil moist but not overly wet.


2.Watering Issues

Plants display signs of unhappiness when they are given too little or too much water. Giving too little water is not as much of a problem as the latter. If your Impatiens is moist most of the time, just reduce the watering frequency, and you’ll see instant results.

On the contrary, if you feel that your Impatiens are really thirsty and the soil is dry to the bottom, you can rejuvenate the flowering perennial by giving it a good soak.

If the Impatiens are potted, place the pot into a wide bucket filled with water 2-3 inches high. Let the dry soil soak up water from the drainage hole and remove the pot from the water after a few minutes.

Overwatering is a bigger concern. Root rot due to overwatering is the most common cause for all domestically grown plants to wilt and eventually die.

When a plant is overwatered, the water gets trapped inside the soil depriving the roots of oxygen. Fungi can take advantage of these humid and oxygen-deprived conditions to infect the roots.

Root rot is usually easy to diagnose by exploring the root system of a plant. If the soil appears soggy and the roots are mushy and soft, that’s it. Flowering plants such as Impatiens are almost impossible to save from root rot.

So the best course of action is to isolate the plant so that the fungus does not spread to other plants.



Impatiens are particularly susceptible to a fungal disease called Downy Mildew. This fungal disease is rather easy to identify. However, there isn’t much we can do to treat it.

You might encounter fuzzy pale-brown, grayish-brown, or purple spots on the lower leaf surface. These blotches can extend to the stems also. The fungal infection in its advanced state can result in yellow or brown spots over the leaves.

There isn’t much we can do except isolate the affected plant immediately and dispose of it. No fungicide works against Downy Mildew. However, you can still treat the plants in the surrounding area as a precautionary measure.


4.Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt is also a fungal condition, although soil-based, that causes Impatiens to wilt and their leaves to turn yellow. You can identify Verticillium Wilt if you notice that the older growth is being affected the most.

Young growth is remarkably resistant to this disease. Fresh growth can stand green even if the rest of the plant has turned brown and crispy.

If you identify this disease, remove the affected plants and dispose of them so that the fungus cannot spread. Just like Downy Mildew, there is no way to treat this fungal disease. Prevention is the only option.

Plant your Impatiens in well-draining and well-aerated soil and water only when the top few inches of the soil are dry.


5.Pest Problems

Impatiens are easy targets for a variety of pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, thrips, aphids, and nematodes.



Thrips usually attack the flowers of fresh growth in Impatiens. They can transmit other viruses that can cause the plant to wilt, have stunted growth, and an irregular flower shape.

Unfortunately, again there is no way to treat the virus, and the affected plant must be thrown away.



Root-knot nematodes are small worms that live in the soil and eat away on plants’ roots. They thrive in muddy soil and aren’t at all easy to control. The only way to confirm Nematode presence is to take out the plants and inspect their roots.

If the roots look unusual, like a string of beads, you can be sure of Nematode presence. These tiny worms create swellings on the roots as they consume them, and the plant above will start to wilt because the roots are damaged.

Insecticides are not effective on Nematodes, so the best way to deal with them is to not plant anything in a Nematode infested area for one summer. This will deprive them of roots to eat on, and they will hopefully be exterminated.


Frequently Asked Questions about what Causes Impatiens to Wilt


How to keep my Impatiens fresh?

Impatiens like temperature on the cooler side and a well-shaded place to grow. If you can keep the soil consistently moist and well-aerated, your Impatiens will thrive.


Can I use neem oil to treat Impatiens pest problem?

Neem oil is always safe to use. As it is an organic substance, you can use it to treat minor pest problems like spider mites and aphids. Although it won’t work against Nematodes or Thrips virus, using Neem oil is a good preventative measure.