Suffering Impatiens? Downy Mildew Fungus Is Likely the Issue

By Polly Kaczmarek, Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscape Director

Are you having trouble with your impatiens this year? There is a fungus among us!

“Downy Mildew” is causing real problems for impatiens (walleriana – the common variety we all know and love) in many areas of the country. We have found it in all of our impatiens plantings in our Flowescape gardens and I have seen it in many other beds and planters in this area. Fortunately it does not affect New Guineas and ’Sunpatiens’ varieties, as this article found on the Greenhouse Grower website also alludes. The plants are infected by soil and airborne spores that are capable of wintering over in this area.

The infected plants are generally yellowing and lose their leaves from the bottom of the stem up. If you look closely at the underside of the leaves, you will see a fine white coating. Eventually, the plant will die. There is no cure for this disease!

The recommendation is to remove all infected plants from your garden immediately, place them in a plastic bag and dispose of them. Remove all stems and roots. Do not compost! Do not plant impatiens in the affected area next year!