Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by Real Men Sow
Jewelweed of Impatiens Capensis, a beautiful flowering Impatiens plant, would thrive along a pond’s edge. It is also known as orange balsam, spotted touch-me-not, jewelweed, and spotted touch-me-not. Although the appearance of this species is quite different, it is often confused with an impatiens walleriana plant which has the same common name but falls under the same genera. The latter is a notoriously invasive species so make sure you don’t mix them up.
These two plants are part of the Balsam family (Balsaminaceae), which includes both perennials and annuals. Jewelweed, which is native to Eastern North America, was recently naturalized in Europe. It is also known as Impatiens bifurca and Impatiens fullva.
Jewelweed flowers are a great choice for any environment. The speckled petals of the jewelweed flowers are not common. If you look closely, you will see their individual forms. The flowers glow bright orange in full sunlight and are distinguished by their three petals and five petals. The cone-shaped pouch is formed by the largest sepal, which extends towards the hind end of the flower. The hooked nectar spur extends from the pouch and seems to defy gravity. The plant’s oval-shaped, blue-green leaves are a contrast. They have toothed margins. They also alternate along a thin stem. The watery stems reach maturity at a height of 2-5 feet (61-152 cm).
Growing Conditions for Jewelweed to Thrive
Impatiens Capensis thrives in moist soil, shade, and good drainage. Because of its dense colonies, this hardy plant can compete with non-native invasive species. Jewelweed is likely to self-seed in your yard; you might want to take out seed capsules before they ripen.
It germinates when soils are slightly warm in spring. The shoots grow quickly and produce many flowers and leaves in the summer. These flowers remain until the end of winter or autumn when the whole plant (including tap roots) will die back. Because it is an annual plant you might store some of its ripened capsules so that you can replenish your garden or pond-side populations after the last frosts have thawed.
Although seeding jewelweed is common, it can take a longer germination time. You may need to prepare seeds at least one year in advance if you are outside the species’ natural range. It can take several months for them to germinate, with a stratification period. The conditions in which the seeds germinate should be similar to those found in nature.
After you’ve purchased seeds or taken them from ripened capsules – store them in a pouch or paper envelope. You should not place them in an open container because this can trap moisture and promote fungal growth. It is easy to simulate cool outdoor temperatures by simply placing the seeds in your fridge. The chill treatment should be effective for between 4 and 6 weeks. After that, the seeds will germinate easily when they are exposed to warmer conditions.
Sprinkle seeds on top of moist, organic soil. The soil should remain moist to slightly damp during the germination process. If you want to plant the seeds before spring, or in a controlled environment such as an indoor/cold room setup, then you can either put them directly on top of the soil or place them in an enclosed/cold frame.
After your jewelweed colonies have been established outdoors, you don’t need to collect the seeds or expose them for an artificially-induced period of cold. Let them settle in the soil for a few years and then watch them germinate.
General Care Guide for Jewelweed
Because it is very hardy, jewelweed is easy to maintain. You can limit the growth of your colonies by simply pruning the shoots. This species produces flowers easily without the need to add fertilizers or compost material. It is important to ensure that roots receive enough moisture. They are not able to absorb nutrients from dry or parched soil. The stability of jewelweed colonies makes them great for filling in pondside spaces.
Jewelweed thrives in full sun to dappled shade. The plants can tolerate direct sunlight in the morning, but can become too sensitive to strong afternoon sun.
Jewelweed will only eat organically-rich soil that retains water. A great way to boost your plants’ nutrient intake is to add a thick layer to your soil before you plant. The best soil pH range is between slightly acidic and neutral.
Jewelweed thrives when the soil is evenly moist. It will wither if it becomes too dry. Even occasionally, it can survive in wet soil. When the soil’s top inch dries out, water it. To retain soil moisture, you might also consider mulching.
Temperature and Humidity
Jewelweed isn’t tolerant to cold temperatures. Frost can cause damage to the plant. As long as there is enough shade and soil moisture, it can survive very hot temperatures. It can also tolerate different levels of humidity, but it won’t thrive under very dry conditions.
Jewelweed doesn’t require any additional fertilizer. If you have extremely poor soil, it is a good idea to add compost right before planting, and then side-dress with compost during the summer.
It can be hard to stop jewelweed from propagating by itself through its explosive seed pods. If you want to stop jewelweed from spreading, it is possible to trim the seed pods before they reach maturity. If not, you don’t need to prune.
Jewelweed is an annual that dies when temperatures drop significantly. In the spring, the plant will need to be re-reared, from its seed which remains dormant all winter. It is not recommended that these species be brought inside to ensure they can survive winter. Even its roots are sensitive to cold and won’t produce new shoots at the end of the year. This plant is difficult to cultivate. If you are a patient gardener, you will be rewarded with another round of flowers during each year’s growth period.