So far as we know, we are the first garden center in the area to notify homeowners and gardeners of the problem and to discontinue the plant. Impatiens are the number one selling plant at Roger’s Gardens as well as most other garden retailers. But rather than sell or promote a plant that will likely fail, Roger’s Gardens has chosen to offer better alternatives. I am proud of Roger’s Gardens for putting its customer’s success ahead of a short-term business interest. We hope other retailers and landscape companies will follow our lead. Roger’s Gardens has discovered that nearly every wholesale impatiens grower in Southern California is infected with the disease. In fact, infected impatiens have been shipped and sold throughout Southern California, and probably continue to be. Buyer Beware! So what should you do? That’s a very easy question. First, fly the white flag. Rather than roll the dice and take your chances; stop planting regular impatiens. It’s a bad gamble. If you already have impatiens in the garden we’re not recommending that you remove them; enjoy them while you can, but be prepared for problems. Secondly, plant an alternative. Remember, other plants are not affected by this disease. Perhaps the most popular solution would be to switch to any of the New Guinea types of impatiens, including the popular series called ‘Fanfare’, Sun Harmony’ or ‘SunPatiens’. These will provide the closest appearance to a regular impatiens. In fact, these types of impatiens will even tolerate more direct sunlight than regular impatiens and have larger flowers and more handsome foliage. Lots of other choices abound as well, especially bedding begonias, which have been around for ages and are nearly as popular as impatiens. For the more adventuresome, other seasonal alternatives are coleus, campanula, mimulus, hypoestes, bacopa, dwarf fuchsias, torenia, cyclamen, cineraria, lobelia and several others. Impatiens have had a good run, but it’s time to move on.
As the leading garden center in Southern California, on July 5th Roger’s Gardens made a difficult decision. We stopped selling regular impatiens, both in our store and in our landscape division, and removed them from our sales tables. We even removed impatiens from our planted baskets and bowls. It was a painful decision, but it was the responsible thing to do. Roger’s Gardens also announced that they would replace or refund any customer who has plants infected with the disease.