Impatiens niamniamensis: the parrot plant

Native to Africa and highly appreciated for its ornamental role, Impatiens niamniamensis is characterized by a rather long flowering period. A peculiarity of this species, which belongs to the Balsaminaceae family, consists in the particular shape of the flowers: the latter recall, in appearance, that of the beak of the parrots.

In countries where it grows spontaneously, such as the Congo and the Zanzibar Island, the plant in question can reach a height of 2 meters, while in Europe it usually reaches 90-100 centimeters. However, it develops easily in both internal and external environments, as long as it is not too cold.

Cultivation methods

The cultivation of Impatiens niamniamensis generally occurs in pots, more rarely in the open ground. For propagation, seeds or cuttings are used: in both cases, a fairly large container must be chosen, with some holes to prevent water from accumulating in the soil. Sowing should take place at the beginning of spring in a mixture of soil, sand and peat covered with a dark cloth. Only after germination the seedlings must be exposed to sunlight.

The specimen should be watered whenever the soil is dry, so much more frequently in the summer. However, it is essential to avoid water stagnation, the cause of mold and root rot. For fertilization, an operation to be carried out once a year in July or August, a liquid fertilizer is recommended.

The main diseases and their remedies

Impatiens niamniamensis is sensitive to too harsh temperatures, but on the other hand is rather resistant to the action of parasites. The most widespread are the red spider mites and aphids: the former, as we understand from the name, are recognized by the typical scarlet color, the latter are green or black. Both the red spiders and the aphids feed on the tender parts of the plant, especially the leaves and flowers, causing the drying of the affected specimen.

In order not to use insecticides, potentially dangerous for the environment, it is possible to adopt some effective home remedies. These include the garlic infusion, horsetail decoction, rosemary essential oil and Marseille soap dissolved in hot water.

Some interesting facts about Impatiens niamniamensis

The most interesting details related to this species are those concerning its name. In Latin, “impatiens” means “impatient”: the capsules that include the seeds, in fact, open up even to the lightest touches and throw away their own contents. Impatiens niamniamensis is also known as a “parrot-beak plant” due to the shape of its flowers, and as a Congo Cockatoo or Parrot Impatiens in English. The appearance of this specimen during flowering, therefore, represents its distinctive trait.

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