In the flowerbeds surrounding the house, impatiens are one of the few bedding plants that do well on the shady west side. It's damp on this side and even in mid-summer only gets about an hour of sunlight. During the summer, the orange, fushia, and red colors yielded enough seed to restart in the spring. The white hardly had any seed and others that might cross colors are easier just to take cuttings to keep the color wanted. So, come early fall, before the frost hits the tender plants, cuttings are taken to continue for the next summer.
Having had an issue in the past with damping off, more are taken than needed. Dipped in hormone, pruned of all large leaves, and planted in sand in a small cell, they are kept damp at all times and out of the direct sunlight..Surprise of surprise when they all survived this time! That's okay, lot's of pots available. Here they are at four weeks (notice some are starting to flower again already):
(That's some cranberries also rooting on the same tray!)
It's repotting day and several plants are potted in each large pot to make the mother plant that will grow and bloom all winter. A wonderful side effect to have the colorful blooms! The soil is part seed starting mix, part sand, and part garden soil. This gets them used to "real dirt". In the house they will grow in the west window, mimicking the area in which they grow outside. Then, mid April, cuttings will be taken again to start the plants for outside. If the mother plants haven't gotten too leggy, they also are cut back and planted out.
They look a bit small now, but they will grow and fill that pot by spring!
Notice the tray? That's actually a 1/2 sheet commercial baking sheet! Finally have given up on the plastic ones, having layered them even two or three and still finding them leaking. That's not so bad in the basement planting area or in the sunroom, but with cuttings sitting on the living room floor, not a good plan!
The plants grown from seed will be started much earlier in order to be about the same size as the new rooted cuttings. The seeds are very small and a bit of a challenge to keep damp for germination. The cuttings are really so much easier!