This species is one of our favorites. It blooms the entire growing season all the way until first frost with gorgeous flowers. After the flowers are pollinated, they make way for the fuzzy seedpods that, once mature, will explode when touched making them quite popular with children. The entire plant can be used for medicine, particularly putting a halt on poison ivy. This plant is loaded with healing mucilage. Very easy to grow.
Common name: Tropical Jewelweed, Chinese Balsam
Botanical name: Impatiens balsamina
Type: Tender reseeding annual
Scarification/Stratification: None needed.
Sow temp/season: Sow 67-85 F in mid Spring.
Sow depth/spacing: Sow 1,4” deep every 4”.
Final spacing: 12-18 inches.
Final height/spread: 3-4 feet tall and 1 foot wide.
pH range: 5.8-7.5
Soil type: Chinese balsam doesn’t care about soil, it grows! Some compost and fertilizer just makes it grow bigger faster.
Nutrition Any supplemental nutrition is appreciated.
Drainage: Thinks nothing of drainage. Pfff. He was the only survivor when we were flooded for 20 days straight.
Sun: Chinese balsam loves sun but can thrive in part shade.
Time to maturity: 55 days until flowers, 90 days until first seed pods explode.
Hilling: If a hurricane blows Chinese balsam over, pull him up, hill three inches with compost and stand back, he will show that hurricane who’s boss.
Suckering: No root suckers, but branches profusely.
Propagation: Sow in at least two inch pots and plant out to landscape or in 2 -4 gallon pots. Best if direct sown.
Hybridization: Grow a minimum of 1000 feet away from others in species to maintain strain.
Uses: Anti-itch topical ointment or oil, use fresh on poison ivy or any other rash or skin issue as soon as you see them.