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A favorite old-fashioned flower by 1900.
HEIRLOOM. While today's impatiens, a shade-loving hybrid of African species, was virtually unknown in gardens until after World War II, balsam, which is native to Southeast Asia, was a well-known favorite by 1900. Balsam is best in full sun to half shade. It sprouts in only 4-5 days and flowers early, growing to be 12-24" tall. The narrow plants hold their blooms close to the central stem. Victorian gardeners removed some leaves to better display the 2" across, perfection pink, camellia-like blossoms.
Start indoors in a warm, well-lighted area 8 weeks before last spring frost. Sow seeds shallowly in seed Starting formula; or just barely press in. Keep evenly moist. Extra artificial light and bottom heat improve germination. Cover seed flat with plastic dome, bag or wrap.
How to Grow
Remove when first seedlings emerge in 4-7 days at 70-75°F. Transplant to individual containers when seedlings have at least 2 pairs of leaves. Before transfer to garden, accustom seedlings to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. SET PLANTS 12" apart in full sun or half shade with average soil after all danger of frost; or set one seedling per 6" pot.
Rose balsam is beautiful in mixed borders or shaded beds. Balsam makes a nice temporary ground cover in a shade garden. Plant them in large drifts and let them fill in, or use them as edging plants along walkways, terraces, or at the front of a bed or border.