Design Ideas for Using Double White Impatiens in Your Landscape

May 25, 2024

My local Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s appear to have recently split a shipment of beautiful potted gardenias, and they both had them for sale a couple of weeks ago.  Drunk with the intoxicating scent, I impulsively bought one.

In hindsight, I wouldn’t exactly have called it a great idea  – but it was only $8.99 so I won’t grieve too long, and I did get about two solid days of good smell in my kitchen before trouble set in.  I’m still not sure how much that is worth? But I do know I could have had very similar blooms – for much longer if I’d have opted instead for Double white Impatiens.

Rocapulco white Double impatiens by proven winners - plant pairing by rochelle greayer
White impatiens plants, also known as Impatiens walleriana, are a popular choice for gardeners looking to add a touch of elegance to their outdoor spaces. These low-maintenance plants feature delicate white flowers that bloom throughout the summer. They thrive in shaded areas and are easy to grow in containers or flower beds.

Can you really Grow Gardenias in the North?

I’ve been having a tough time adjusting to the ‘just right’ care that doesn’t cause potted gardenias to revolt and drop all their leaves.  It is more than a little fussy, but it is to be expected, I suppose… they are meant to be grown outside, in a damp, shady area in a nearly tropical climate – and this is New England in my kitchen, after all.

In the future, I will try in the future not to be such a sucker for that smell – Im not sure the hassle is worth it.

Beyond that smell, I was also seduced by those beautiful mini rose-like flowers resembling velvet. The purity and texture of gardenia flowers are why they are among the most requested blooms for wedding bouquets.

If you can grow them (i.e., you live in Florida, southern California, or some other lighter and warmer environment than the Northeast), you should.

But if you live where I live, I’d like to save you some hassle and money and encourage you to just pick up some vastly less expensive and more durable double white Impatiens. And then spend your savings on a really nice candle that smells like flowers. I love Diptyque candles – they are worth the money – and there is one that is gardenia flavored.

Do you want to grow Double white impatiens (instead of gardenia)?

Rockapulco White Impatiens look very similar to the gardenia and, having grown Impatiens in the most unforgiving of gardens, I am confident that they will not put on such airs of leaf dropping drama at the slightest hint of dryness.  

I haven’t always been a champion of Impatiens, but with experience, I have come to love some of the softer colors and double blooms, as they really are just about the most reliable shade bloomers I’ve ever grown. They have amazing resiliency to neglect and will literally come back from the dead in a matter of hours if you accidentally discover that you have let them perish on a hot summer day.

Impatiens are going to prefer shade – but newer varieties are bred to also tolerate substantial amounts of sun, making them a great all-around choice.

Great container Plant Partner ideas for White Impatiens

If you have a partially shady area – these are some of my picks for beautiful and stylish plant partners. I like white in a dark area – it is always more dramatic (see my own garden below). I tend to want to optimize for texture and foliage, and I always plant my plants in their own containers. Through the season and as plants peak, I enjoy moving containers of individual plants around (which I can easily do if they are not planted together), and I think that each specimen can shine better when given its own home.

To fill out a container, you will typically need more than just one of a plant. Depending on pot size and plant size, I might put as many as a dozen of something in a pot to make sure that I maximize the impact.

A close-up of a garden bed featuring a prominent plant with large, lobed leaves in shades of brown and orange. Surrounding plants, including white impatiens, have green, purple, and variegated foliage, adding contrasts of texture and color to the garden style arrangement.
Heucherella Fun and Games  ‘Hopscotch’ from Proven Winners.
A lush garden bed featuring a dense cluster of dark burgundy and green variegated coleus plants showcases an exquisite garden style. Adjacent to the coleus is a younger tree and large leafy green plants adding contrasting textures, with clusters of white impatiens enhancing the scene. Small signs are placed among the plants.
ColorBlaze® Chocolate Drop (Coleus scutellarioides) image from proven winners.
A cluster of pure white, double-flowered impatiens blooms set against a backdrop of lush, green leaves. Their garden-style elegance shines through delicate, layered petals, creating a full and vibrant appearance while some buds are yet to open.
Rockapulco® White Double Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana). Double impatiens flowers are a popular choice for gardens due to their vibrant colors and unique double blooms. These flowers also come in shades of pink, purple, red, and orange, adding a splash of color to any garden or landscape. The singles (meaning they do not have as many petals and present as flatter more simple flower) are also easy to grow and maintain, and they come in similar colors.
A cluster of light pink daisies with dark centers surrounded by green foliage. The petals are oval-shaped and evenly spread, creating a vibrant and serene floral display. In true garden style, white impatiens peek through the greenery, adding a touch of delicate contrast.
Osteospermum ‘Melon Symphony’ from Proven Winners.
A cluster of white impatiens with dark centers surrounded by lush green foliage. In a charming garden style, the blooms feature five petals each, creating a striking contrast against the deep, textured leaves. The flowers are evenly spread throughout the plant, adding to the overall beauty of the scene.
Coconut A-Peel® Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata) from Proven winners.
Clusters of small, delicate white and pink flowers, resembling garden-style white impatiens, are surrounded by slender, dark green leaves. The flowers are set against a backdrop of dense foliage, creating a contrast between the vibrant blooms and the muted shades of the leaves.
Black Lace® Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) from Proven Winners.

Plants for the Collection:

Heucherella Fun and Games ‘Hopscotch’ is a newer release; if you can’t find it, you might also try Heuchera ‘Caramel’ or another rust-colored heuchera or heucherella (which is a cross between heuchera and tiarella – that tends to make the plants tougher and more dense with foliage).

Osteospermum ‘Melon Symphony’ – along with the Impatiens – gives just enough flower interest to keep the mix sophisticated. Melon symphony is barely white and can also be difficult to find, but you can swap it out for other blush-colored flowers. Blush and White together is a color combo I don’t see often, but I love when I can achieve it. Coconut black-eyed susan vine (thunbergia alata) is another great off-white/cream-colored plant option that is also great in containers.

You can try other great foliage plants, too. I also added Coleus ‘Chocolate Drop’ because I think these sorts of mixes really need a dash of fresh green to keep things exciting. Coleus is one of my favorite plants – there is a huge selection of striking options for

And lastly, I added another perennial – Black Lace Elderberry.  The Elderberry and the Heucherella will come back next year and will be a great starting point for another mix (perhaps something with blue or pink, or deep red). Alternatively, at the end of the season, I might just plant both the Heucheralla and the Shrub in the ground in the garden so that they can enjoy growing to their full potential.

Design Inspiration from the PITH + VIGOR Garden:

Summer shade container garden with dark-leaved plants and single white impatiens. This collection used single white impatiens to great effect. The whole textural collection is enlivened by splashes of white. Design and image by Rochelle Greayer

More Plant and Container Garden Posts:

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  1. Bree says:

    Hi! L O V E – Gardenias! I live in Seattle and having success with the Gardenia jasminoides ‘Kleim’s Hardy’ hardiness zone 7-11. It’s on it’s 3rd year and smells divine. We don’t get the harsh winter or the snow you have in New England, but might be worth a try.

  2. Janice Goole says:

    I love having impatiens because of the beautiful colors–it adds a lot of pizazz to my garden. However, deer love them as much as I so I now only plant them inside my fenced area!

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