Glass flowers

The glass flowers

Glass flowers or beautiful glass flowers, depending on the place, but it’s always her. The name indicates its extreme fragility: like a glass plant, it doesn’t take much to break it. The exact name is Impatiens walleriana: even if this name actually indicates not one, but two species: the Impatiens holstii and the sultanii. Over time these species have been the subject of hybridizations that have led them to resemble each other more and more, losing the traits that distinguished them and originating the Impatiens walleriana. Above all the colors are many, due to the great work done by the breeders on these plants. Two curiosities about the names: walleriana is used to remember Horace Waller, missionary and priest, who was a collaborator of David Livingstone. While sultanii is a tribute to the sultan of Zanzibar.


The glass flower plantis native to Africa. It is a small herbaceous shrub that reaches about 40 cm in height. The stems have a very light green color, they are fleshy, but delicate: if you touch them they break less than gently. The leaves are darker than the trunks, have an obovate, pointed shape and the margin is serrated. From spring and until the first cold of autumn, the plant exhibits an abundant flowering, with shades ranging from white to red, from pink to orange, in plain or mottled colors with simple or double flowers. They are perennials that in their natural habitats form round, evergreen shrubs with uninterrupted flowering; but which in our latitudes are treated as annuals even if they are used indifferently both as garden and pot plants.


Glass flower plants do well in shade or semi-shade, because the sun “burns” their leaves, causing them to wilt. In summer they need frequent watering, in order to keep the soil always humid; if grown in pots tolerate even a little water in the saucer, in the morning. These plants tolerate drought little and badly. To have abundant flowers and enhance the intensity of the color, every 7-10 days, together with the watering water, also distribute fertilizer for flowering plants. Alternatively, use slow release fertilizer. It is better not to expose them to temperatures below 5 ° C, if they are in the ground you will have to consider them annuals, if you grow them in pots, in the first autumn colds bring them into the apartment.

Glass flowers: Multiplication and main pathologies

The ideal soil is light, fresh, with a lot of organic matter. Impatiens multiply easily and quickly by cuttings, in autumn or spring. Alternatively, it is also possible to plant them in seedbeds, starting from autumn until late winter. Moreover, this is an effective and fairly simple technique, moreover the seed is inexpensive. They are quite resistant plants and in general they are not easy prey for diseases, but powdery mildew and aphids, especially the latter, can be formidable enemies. Powdery mildew is a fungus and like all fungi it attacks plants placed in poorly ventilated positions; aphids, on the other hand, are small insects that gladly feed on the young shoots of plants.

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