Article: SunPatiens® – Filling the Gap Downy Mildew Leaves Behind

Growers in North America are well aware of how downy mildew (Plasmopara obducens) has devastated the Impatiens walleriana crop throughout both North America and Europe. In many locations both seed and vegetative* varieties (with walleriana blood*) have been entirely wiped out within a very short period of time.

In North America downy mildew has affected Impatiens walleriana crops in most states and Canadian provinces. Many garden centers are moving away from Impatiens walleriana in favor of alternative crops like SunPatiens®, which do not contain any Impatiens walleriana blood, and are totally unaffected by these strains of downy mildew—even when surrounded by Impatiens walleriana that have been overtaken by downy mildew. SunPatiens are a truly viable, high-performance alternative to seed Impatiens. They deliver superior all-weather performance in sun or shade, are fast growing for quick coverage, are available in a wide color range and three unique plant habits. Compared to traditional New Guineas, SunPatiens will root faster, require less energy to produce, display much more vigor and thrive under both shade and full-sun conditions. Some NGI’s may tolerate full sun conditions but often will show signs of stress and growth and blooming is stunted.

Some might argue that SunPatiens, as a premium product are a more expensive choice for those seeking to replace inexpensive color in the landscape. What needs to be recognized is how SunPatiens® provide excellent coverage and fast growth with far fewer plants that are required per square foot compared to seed impatiens. SunPatiens are actually more economical than seed impatiens for large scale plantings. If traditional seed-based bedding plants are priced at $.50/unit and planted at 10” X 10” spacing, the input cost of plants for a 1,000 square foot commercial site will be $720.00. SunPatiens, even at double the price ($1.00/unit), can be planted at a 16” X 16” spacing and will fill the same space at an input cost of only $563.00—a 20% savings— plus the cost of labor will be greatly reduced as well. SunPatiens® will also provide three season color, reducing the need to continually change out the beds as the weather changes.

For more information, or to see examples of how SunPatiens® works in the landscape please visit or . Sakata Seed Corporation was founded in 1913 and is recognized today among the world leaders in research, production and commercialization of flower and vegetable genetics. The corporation has a global presence including 32 subsidiary companies.