Now there is an Alternative to Impatiens! 

Late winter to early spring you often see impatiens being planted by many of the commercial developments and home owners in South Florida. Sure, we appreciate their bright pastel blooms as cheery signs of the coming spring (brief as it is down here in the sub-tropics before the torrid summer!), but year after year impatiens become rather boring, I think.

According to Costa Farms® marketing information, “Senetti® loves cool, wet weather, which makes it a perfect choice for early spring and planting in the garden or large patio containers. Gardeners can have confidence planting these heavy bloomers early, as Senetti® will endure light frosts and night temperatures down to 32° F. The cool, damp weather of spring only helps initiation, ensuring a continuous blooming later into the season.”

I received a dozen samples of Senetti® Pericallis from Costa Farms® to try-out in the FloridaGardener.com test garden. From the literature that came with the plants their care and maintenance seems to be the same as for impatiens and like them, grown as annuals:

Light
Plant in partial sun (although the hang tag says “Full Sun”)

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Water
Water regularly. Do not allow to dry out. (They are thirsty plants)

Average Size
Height 12″-24″
Width 12″-24″

Fertilization
Monthly fertilizer for blooming plants. Follow directions on fertilizer label.

Grow Time
October to May

Bloom Time
Winter and Spring

Pruning
Remove spent flowers.

Cold Hardiness
To 35°F

Pests
Whitefly, Thrips, Aphids, Fungus gnats and Shore Flies, Leaf miner, and Mites

Disease
Botrytis and Powdery Mildew are the main diseases but these can be avoided by keeping the humidity as low as possible.

Senetti® Pericallis from Costa Farms® are available in five vibrant bloom colors: Blue, Blue Bicolor, Magenta, Magenta Bicolor and Violet Bicolor. In addition to their stunning colors Senetti® Pericallis have a wonderful fragrance, to my nose, reminiscent of grape hyacinth (Muscari). Flower size ranges from 2.5 to 3 inches.

Senetti® Pericallis foliage consists of small to medium-sized oval leaves in shades from medium to dark green and the plants have a mounding type of growth.

Keep in mind there is no guarantee that the cultural information will always work, climatic conditions will have an effect in any environment. Again, this information and the related advices of this web site are solely based on past experience and expertise and no other, and in no case shall be constructed to provide a guarantee that certain particular purpose or results will be achieved.

Sources: Costa Farms®Senetti® Pericallis

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