Impatiens Plant Companions – What to Plant with Impatiens in the Garden Impatiens  are a long-time favorite for adding a pop of color to shady beds. Impatiens bloom from spring until frost and can fill the gaps between blooming periods of shade perennials. Growing in small mounds no larger than one foot (0.5 m) high and two feet (0.5 m) wide, impatiens can be hidden in bare areas in the shaded garden. Their compact growth makes them ideal for shady bedding plants or borders.
Companion planting with impatiens
Before I get into what to plant with impatiens, let me tell you what impatiens bring to the table as companion plants. Impatiens attract beneficial insects. As mentioned above, they add long-lasting, vibrant color to dark, shadowy areas and create excellent borders.
The fleshy, succulent-like stems of impatiens store water and make them drought-resistant, so they don’t compete with other plants for water and can be used in dry shade beds. As companion plants, the dense foliage of impatiens can keep the soil moist and cool for its companions.
Companion Plants for Impatiens
An old-fashioned favorite in the South is pairing impatiens with azaleas  . Other shrub companion plants for impatiens include:
Yew trees 
Japanese Pieris 
Mountain laurel 
Summer sweet 
Witch hazel 
Older landscapes tend to only plant yew or boxwood in shady areas around the house. While it’s nice to have that evergreen effect all winter long, these beds can be pretty boring in the summer when everyone else is full of blooms. Impatiens can line these drab evergreen beds and add the pop of color they need.
In shady containers or flower borders, these make beautiful companion plants for impatiens:
Asparagus fern 
Sweet potato vine 
Elephant ear 
wishbone flower 
When companion planting with impatiens, their bright pink, red, orange and white flowers contrast beautifully with plants with dark or yellow foliage. Some perennial Impatiens plant companions with dark foliage are Ajuga  , Coral Bells  and Cimicifuga  . Some perennials with yellow leaves that contrast nicely with impatiens are Aureola Japanese forest grass  and Citronella heuchera  .
Other companion plants for impatiens include:
Balloon flower 
Bleeding Heart 
Jacob’s Ladder 
Turtle head 
Impatiens Turns Yellow: What Causes Yellow Leaves On Impatiens Plants?
Impatiens  are the most popular bedding plants in the country. Gardeners love their easy care and bright colors in the shade garden. You can find modern impatiens varieties in colors straight from the crayon box, including red, salmon, orange, salmon, pink, purple, white and lavender. The only shade you don’t want to see is an impatiens turning yellow.
My impatiens have yellow leaves
It’s a sad day in the garden when you see your impatiens turning yellow leaves. Generally, impatiens are disease-free annuals in backyard beds and display healthy, dark green leaves.
However, the plant is very sensitive to water stress. The key to healthy impatiens is to keep the soil always moist, but never soggy. Overwatering and underwatering can cause impatiens leaves to turn yellow.
What causes yellow leaves on impatiens?
Aside from improper watering, a variety of pests and diseases  can cause yellow impatiens leaves.
Nematodes – One cause of yellow leaves is an infestation of nematodes  , tiny, slender worms that live in the soil and attach themselves to the roots of plants. If plants are slow to recover after midday wilt, nematodes are likely the cause of yellow impatiens leaves. Dig up the infected plants with the surrounding soil and throw them in the trash.
Downy mildew – Another possible reason for your impatiens’ leaves turning yellow is a fungal disease – namely downy mildew  . Look for brown spots on the stems before you see the leaves turn yellow. Since impatiens are annuals, it’s not worth using pesticides. Simply dig up the infected plants and nearby soil and discard it.
Botrytis Blight – If, in addition to saying “My impatiens have yellow leaves,” you say, “My impatiens have wilted flowers and rotting stems,” you are considering Botrytis blight [ 5] . Increase the air space between plants and provide plenty of freedom of movement, these are the cultural steps to combat this infection.
Verticillium Wilt – A final possible cause of impatiens having yellow leaves is verticillium wilt  . For both this and botrytis blight, you can use a fungicide  specifically for impatiens.
Note : All chemical usage recommendations are for informational purposes only. Chemical control should only be used as a last resort as organic approaches are safer and more environmentally friendly.
Caring For Congo Cockatoo Plants: How To Grow Congo Cockatoo Impatiens
What is a Congo cockatoo plant ( Impatiens niamniamensis )? Also known as parrot plant or parrot impatiens, this African native provides a spark of bright color in shady areas of the garden, similar to other impatiens flowers  . Named for the clusters of bright orange-red and yellow beak-like flowers, Congo cockatoo flowers grow year-round in mild climates. Read on for tips on how to grow Congo cockatoo impatiens plants.
How to Grow Congo Cockatoo Impatiens
Congo cockatoo impatiens tolerate temperatures up to about 35 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), but the plant will not survive even light frost. Temperatures of 45 degrees F. (7 C) and above are ideal for this tender perennial.
Congo Cockatoo Impatiens prefer a location in full shade, especially if you live in a warm, sunny climate. Although the plant grows in partial sunlight in a cool climate, it does not tolerate bright sunlight or hot summers.
The plant thrives best in nutrient-rich soil, so dig in plenty of compost or well-rotted manure before planting.
Congo cockatoo care
Caring for Congo Cockatoo Impatiens is easy, and this colorful, vigorous plant thrives with minimal attention.
Water the plant regularly to keep the soil consistently moist but never soggy. Weekly watering is usually sufficient unless the weather is hot, but always water immediately if the foliage looks wilted. A layer of shredded bark or other organic mulch  keeps the roots moist and cool.
Pinch the growing tips  of newly planted condo cockatoo impatiens to encourage full, bushy growth. Cut the plant back by 3 to 4 inches if it looks tired and leggy in mid-summer.
Fertilize the plant twice during the growing season with a general purpose liquid or dry fertilizer  . Do not over-fertilize, as too much fertilizer will create a full, bushy plant at the expense of flowers. Always water immediately as fertilizer can burn the roots. 
Caring for Congo Cockatoo Plants Indoors
If you live in a cool winter climate, you can grow Congo Cockatoo Impatiens indoors in a pot filled with high-quality commercial potting soil  .
Place the plant in weak or filtered sunlight. Keep the potting soil slightly moist by watering when the surface of the soil feels dry, but never leave the pot standing in water.
Fertilize the plant twice in spring and summer with a regular houseplant fertilizer.
Impatiens and Downy Mildew: Alternatives to Planting Impatiens in the Garden
Impatiens  are one of the standby color choices for shady regions in the landscape. They are also threatened by a water mold disease that lives in the soil, so check these shade annuals carefully before purchasing them. There is a serious disease of impatiens (called downy mildew  ) that is species-specific and kills the plants. It has the ability to overwinter in the soil, making it a threat for years to come even if you don’t bring in affected plants. One way to avoid problems is to use alternatives to planting impatiens and give the soil a chance to clear the mold.
What are the causes and symptoms?
The impatiens fungus is caused by the pathogen Plasmopara obducens, which is very difficult to control. The fungus on impatiens plants forms in cool, damp, or humid conditions, generally in spring or fall. Ornamental impatiens and downy mildew go hand in hand in 30 states in the Union, with few resistant varieties available. It affects both cultivated and wild impatiens, but not New Guinea impatiens  .
Downy mildew  begins on the underside of leaves and causes them to fade and develop spots, similar to heavy spider mite feeding  . The leaves become limp and eventually white, cotton-like spores appear on the leaves. Eventually all the leaves fall off and you are left with a skeleton of a plant. Without leaves, the plant can no longer feed itself on carbohydrates harvested through photosynthesis  , and it will wither and die. Any fungus on impatiens plants is contagious to other plants in the group but does not affect other ornamental species.
What to do about impatiens and downy mildew?
The impatiens fungus is actually not a fungus, but mildew and as such does not respond to fungicides. There are applications that work as a pre-emergence, but once the plant has the disease there is nothing to do except remove it from the garden. The mold is already in the soil at this point and it is therefore not advisable to replant impatiens as the pathogen can overwinter and lurk until its preferred host is within reach.
Using plant alternatives for impatiens downy mildew is the best choice to prevent plant death. There are many shade-providing ornamental plants that are suitable alternatives to planting impatiens.
Plant Alternatives to Prevent Impatiens Downy Mildew
Many shade ornamental plants can provide the color and interest of impatiens without the threat of mildew. Below are just a handful to choose from:
Joseph’s Coat  is available in many shades and has remarkable leaves.
Coleus  are also spectacular, variegated foliage plants in shades from green to pink and yellow, plus many more in between.
Fuchsias  , begonias  and lobelias  are all easy to find in nurseries because they are available in large shapes and textures.
Elephant Ears  , Alocasia  and Oxalis are interesting and effective foliage plants for shade.
Scarlet sage  and sage are forms of sage  and add both dimension and color.
There are many other alternatives to planting impatiens that will provide the color and drama you need in your shady garden  .