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Impatiens plants are super easy to grow from cuttings. Whether you want to simply grow more plants, or even to propagate some to save and grow over the winter indoors, I’ll show you exactly how easy it is to root impatiens cuttings so that you have an abundance of plants.
This method works regardless of the varieties of impatiens you have, whether it is the standard impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) that are used for mass planting in beds, or even New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) that have larger flowers and leaves.
The process is identical!
I chose an impatiens variety with larger leaves and flowers for this propagation project.
But the process would be absolutely identical to propagate the following standard bedding impatiens. This one has started to look a little ratty from cool temperatures near the end of the season. Impatiens don’t tolerate cold well.
HOW TO GROW IMPATIENS FROM CUTTINGS
In this post, I’m going to show you how to propagate impatiens cuttings in water.
You can easily propagate in soil as well, but the easiest way is water propagation.
And you get the satisfaction of actually seeing the roots so that you know you’re successful.
Here are 3 easy steps to propagate your impatiens plants, along with a documented photo account to show the whole process of preparing the cuttings.
1. Make your cuttings
You can take cuttings at any time really, but if you live in an area with cold weather during the Fall and Winter months, timing is very important.
You’ll want to look up the average last frost date and start propagating at least a few weeks before that point.
Impatiens hate cold weather so be sure to propagate before minimum nighttime temperatures go much below 55°F near the end of the growing season.
Plants will get quite ratty-looking with cold temperatures! These are tropical plants that love warmth.
The first step is to make tip cuttings of your plants. Here are some good general guidelines to keep in mind:
1. Don’t make your cuttings too big, otherwise, they will struggle and wilt easily. 3-5 inches long is plenty.
2. Even though it is tempting to leave the flower buds on the cuttings, it is best to remove them so your plant can focus its energy on rooting. Or you can also choose any non-flowering stems to use for propagation.
3. Choose healthy plants to take cuttings from the parent plant. Avoid sickly plants, or any plants that have signs of infestation of any pests. Downy mildew, powdery mildew, and spider mites are common with impatiens, so only choose healthy cuttings to propagate.
Here are some large flowered Impatiens that I took cuttings from. Remember, you can do the exact same thing to propagate standard bedding impatiens.
Make sure that you use a sterilized pair of pruners to snip your stem cuttings. You can simply sterilize with isopropyl alcohol in order to prevent any disease from spreading.
You’ll want to snip right below where leaves attach to the stem.
Once you have your cutting, snip off any leaves at the bottom of the cutting. The area where the leaves attach to the stem are called the leaf nodes, and this is where root growth will occur.
Removing the lower leaves of the cutting will also prevent any leaves from being underwater, and thus rotting and spoiling the water.
I started off with this cutting.
Then I removed the lower leaves.
You may want to also rinse your cuttings off with water to dislodge any pests that may be present that aren’t easily visible.
2. Root them in water
Next, you’ll simply place your cuttings in a glass of water and wait for them to root.
Make sure both the cut end of the cutting as well as the leaf node area where you removed the leaves are underwater.
If you snipped the cutting right under where the leaves were that you removed, it should be plenty to have the bottom inch of the stem under water.
I ended up taking a total of 3 cuttings. Don’t forget to snip all the flowers and flower buds off so your cuttings can focus on growing roots instead of blooming.
New root growth will occur rather quickly, often in a matter of days! There is no need to place a plastic bag over it to maintain humidity.
As long as you don’t make your cuttings huge, it’s not necessary, so keep it simple!
Monitor the water level to make sure that it doesn’t dry up, and go ahead and change the water every 2-3 days or so (particularly if there is any rotting debris in the water).
It is important to keep the water clean.
Keep your cuttings in a warm spot, preferably somewhere in the 65-80°F range.
If you want to really increase the rate of rooting on your cuttings, it is really helpful to set your glass of water with your cuttings right on a heating mat that is designed for propagation.
The optimal temperature of your propagation media is 68-77°F, whether you are using water to propagate, or soil. The air temperature isn’t as important as the temperature of the propagation media.
As far as light goes, don’t place your cuttings somewhere dim. If you’re placing your cuttings indoors to root, place them right in front of a window.
At a minimum, choose a window with just indirect light, but don’t shy away from some direct sun indoors. Eastern-facing windows with gentle morning sun work beautifully for propagation. I would avoid a window that has full sun all day though.
You can also place your cuttings under grow lights indoors if you prefer that too.
If it is still warm outside, and you want to keep the cuttings outside, that’s fine too. Just place the cuttings in full shade or mostly shade outdoors while they root.
Once your roots are about 1/2 an inch long or so, go ahead and pot them up. If you wait too long, the cuttings will have a harder time transitioning to soil.
Water roots and soil roots are fundamentally different.
Less than 2 weeks of placing the cuttings in water, they already have some roots.
Here are the roots closer up.
3. Plant in soil
Once your cuttings have roots that are about half an inch long or so, go ahead and pot them up.
If you only have 1 cutting, start with small pots. I’d suggest using a 4-inch pot to start with. If you have a 6-inch pot, you can add 3 cuttings or so.
I chose to pot my cuttings individually into 4 inch square pots.
A well-drained soil is a must. I’d suggest 2 to 3 parts of an all-purpose potting mix and 1 part of perlite or pumice for additional aeration and porosity.
Allow the top of the soil (the top half inch or so) to dry out a bit, and then water again. Impatiens like a pretty moist soil and do not tolerate drying out completely, particularly young plants until they get more established.
Always use a pot with drainage holes at the bottom as good drainage is essential.
If you are growing your impatiens indoors, they can take more light than you think indoors. A few hours of direct sun (particularly morning sun) is beneficial, especially in the wintertime.
Come late Spring or so, you can take cuttings from your plants all over again and make new plants for your garden.
Just be careful though when placing your plants back outdoors after they have been indoors a long time.
You will want to wait until any danger of frost has passed, and also wait until minimum nighttime temperatures are consistently about 55°F (13°C) or above.
In addition, you’ll want to place your plants in deep shade for several days. After that point, you can slowly introduce a little direct sun little by little, unless you plan on growing your plants permanently in full shade.
If you move your plants from indoors straight into a sunny area outside, your plants will burn, so make sure you acclimate them slowly.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on how to grow impatiens from cuttings. Have you tried it out? Comment below and let me know!