From the Ground Up Blog

SunPatiens® – Why Are They So Darn Popular?

SunPatiens® – Why Are They So Darn Popular?

When spring arrives and winter-weary garden shoppers are looking for a respite, they naturally gravitate towards the most colorful lush annuals they can lay their eyes on. New Guinea impatiens fit the bill with opulent tropical foliage covered with large, showy color-soaked blooms. But most are only suitable for shade or partial sun that is until SunPatiens arrived on the scene over a decade ago. The series is bred by Sakata Ornamentals in collaboration with the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD), using the breeding material of Indonesia’s native species of Impatiens.

SunPatiens can tolerate full sun far beyond that of most New Guinea varietiesthey thrive on it! Plus, the thicker petals and durable foliage are less disease-prone, and their sturdy stems withstand high heat and humidity, rain and adverse weather conditions. Plants are easy to grow for both growers and gardeners. Once the transplants take hold in containers, gardens, or landscapes, they thrive and provide a palette of color from spring all the way through a hard frost.

What Makes SunPatiens So Popular?

In addition to loving the sun, what makes SunPatiens so darn popular? Consider the following:

  • Lowered production costs: SunPatiens have quicker turns than standard New Guineas, and no plant growth regulators (PGRs) are needed when you grow them as directed. They also grow best in cool conditions, providing you with energy savings.
  • Reduced product loss: Unlike other impatiens, these beauties are not susceptible to Downy Mildew. They will NOT be taken down!
  • Reputation precedes them: These high-quality and high-impact plants have customers coming back year after year, asking for them by name.

This workhorse series is ideal for landscape professionals and home gardeners, and it is the only series available from all five of our liner grower specialists.

Product Support

There aren’t many plant brands that customers recognize by name alone. SunPatiens is one of the few! While the popularity of the series is primarily due to the product itself, the support that accompanies the series plays a vital role in its value proposition. Growers can visit the Sakata Ornamentals website for resources that will help produce and market the series. Also, be sure to visit the stand-alone SunPatiens website for consumer-based information and guidance to promote your product to your customers! 

What Colors Do SunPatiens Come In?

Two categories of SunPatiens fit all the garden market niches:

Compact SunPatiens

The full range of colors of compact SunPatiens flowers include:

  • Blush Pink
  • Classic White
  • Coral Pink
  • Deep Red
  • Deep Rose
  • Electric Orange
  • Hot Coral
  • Hot Pink
  • Lavender Splash
  • Lilac
  • Orange
  • Orchid Blush
  • Pink Candy
  • Purple
  • Purple Candy
  • Red
  • Rose Glow
  • Royal Magenta
  • Tropical Rose

The top five sellers in this group are Electric Orange, Fire Red, Royal Magenta, Tropical Rose with variegated foliage and Classic White.

Compact SunPatiens are bred for strong retail appeal and a smaller habit. They offer the best habit for multi-pack, high-density production. Produce in 306's, quarts, gallons and hanging baskets for landscapes, containers and hanging baskets. Fully finished compact varieties grow from 16 to 30 inches tall and 14 to 20 inches wide

Vigorous SunPatiens

Vigorous SunPatiens varieties have the following color options:

  • Corona
  • Lavender Splash
  • Orange 
  • Orchid
  • Peach Candy
  • Pink Kiss
  • Pretty Pink
  • Red
  • Rose Pink
  • Sweetheart White
  • Tropical Orange 
  • Tropical Salmon
  • Tropical White
  • White

Our top five sellers in this group are Lavender, Pink Kiss, Red, Tropical Orange with variegated foliage and White with variegated foliage.

Vigorous SunPatiens offer excellent branching with strong plant vigor. They are ideal for cooler regions and excel in landscapes or super large containers where plants need to fill in space quickly. Offer them to your customers in premium packs and 4- to 6-inch pots for transplanting. Vigorous varieties grow from 18 to 34 inches tall and 16 to 21 inches wide

Where Can You Find SunPatiens?

To put a popular rumor to rest — SunPatiens are NOT available from seed! If you’re advised they are or see SunPatiens seed available online, don’t believe it! SunPatiens varieties are produced from vegetative cuttings that plug & liner grower specialists root. All of Harris Seeds liner grower partners offer this fantastic series through our Plug & Liner program, which is a strong testimony to their performance and demand. 

When Are SunPatiens Available?

SunPatiens are ideal for selling in full bloom from early spring throughout the summer and into late fall.

How to Grow SunPatiens

Though you will not find SunPatiens protected by patents and trademarks, restictions apply. As such, Sakata Ornamentals alone authorizes greenhouses and growers to prepare and propagate SunPatiens from cuttings. Rooted liners can be found at Plug & Liner Grower Specialists, including our favorites Raker-Roberta's, Gro ‘N Sell, Mast Young. Four Star Greenhouses and Pleasant View Gardens. From liners, a 4- to 5-inch con­tainer will need five to six weeks to finish, with 6-inch and gallon pots requiring seven to eight weeks; an 8-inch container needs 9 to 10 weeks, while a 10- to 12-inch container will take 10 to 12 weeks. When potting plan on one plant per 4 or 6-inch pots, and 3 plants for 12-inch hanging baskets. Choose peat-based, well –aerated plant medias with an optimum pH range of 5.8-6.2. At a young age avoid excessive irrigation. Feed with a complete, balanced fertilizer at 200-ppm nitrogen. SunPatiens grow well under a wide temperature range. Establish the crop at an average temperature of 64-66° F. Once established, optimum temperatures range between 68-85° F during the day and 60-64° F at night. Lower temperatures are possible but will prolong crop time. Provide good air circulation at all times. Maintain relative humidity below 70 percent to prevent diseases such as Botrytis or Myrothecium. Optimum light level is 5,000 foot-candles. Apply light shade only if light intensities cause green­house temperatures to exceed 85°. Growing at lower light levels will reduce the number of flowers and increase internode stretch. As flowering can be delayed, it is also not recommended to pinch, and pinching also results in a low horizontal branching pattern.

Are SunPatiens Perennial?

That depends on where you grow them! If you grow them indoors or in tropical climates, you can likely keep them as perennials. However, if you grow them in colder climates, they will likely grow as annuals.

Can SunPatiens Grow in Shade?

As their name suggests, SunPatiens grow the most blooms when exposed to sunlight. However, they can grow well in either sun or shade! If planted in the shade, the soil should be nutrient-rich and well-drained.

Add SunPatiens to Your Product Line-Up

If SunPatiens are not in your product line-up, there’s still time! Get in the game and order your rooted liners from any of our plug & liner grower specialists. You won’t be disappointed, and neither will your customers!