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With impatiens scarce due to disease, choose begonia and coleus [Lutherville]
Gardeners will have a hard time finding impatiens for their flower gardens this year. The dreaded downy mildew fungal disease that began in Florida last year has spread to Maryland and has infected the ever-popular Impatiens walleriana. The downy mildew disease is not harmful to humans. Only the impatiens plant is affected by this disease that is airborne and in the soil of the impatiens. This means the flower most gardeners go to for instant color and continuous blooms all season is in short supply. Nina Davis, from Watson's Garden Center on York Road in Lutherville. said it was a big topic at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show she attended at the Baltimore Convention Center. "It's put a big hole in the shade garden planting," Davis said. "Growers are directing nurseries to suggest the wax leaf begonia as a substitute for the impatiens. Coleus works well in sun or shade and comes is many colors." New Guinea impatiens are not affected by the fungus, Davis said. But some of her longtime customers will really miss the instant pop of color that impatiens add to their beautiful Baltimore gardens.
May 16, 2013