Impatiens are the perfect annual for the shady spots in your yard. They are easy to grow and come in a wide range of colors. In addition, they continue to produce new blossoms throughout the summer and into the fall. Besides the familiar single flower blossom, they are also available in semi-double and double. Many people also enjoy them in hanging pots.
As with most flowers, impatiens do best in soil that drains well. Careful attention to watering is needed because they tend to wilt quickly when dry or exposed to extreme heat. They prefer shade, although will grow in sun if watered sufficiently. While they can be started from seed, garden centers always have a large selection of flats that make for easy planting. Plant them up to 12 inches apart, and they will spread to fill in the bare spots. It's not necessary to remove the dead flowers, except to improve their appearance.
New Guinea impatiens
New Guinea impatiens are a relatively recent addition to the family of impatiens. They were brought to the United States from New Guinea in the early 70's and have become popular as hanging plants. They are a little more temperamental than regular impatiens and require regular watering and fertilizing. In the past few years, they have been used as regular bedding plants as well. They are difficult to start from seed, so most people purchase them in pots where cuttings have already been established. Plant them in locations that receive a mix of sun and shade, 15-18 inches apart.