What are the pros? Very pretty
What are the cons? Gets tatty in late summer
I grew these for the past two summers here in warm, humid northern VA. The first summer I sprinkled seeds thinly into a modestly-prepared seedbed near my vegetable garden. They self-seeded, and next year I had another great show with all of the colors. Their colors include all of the pinks (especially my favorite, a salmon), a few reds, and a purple. I had prolific blooms from about mid-June until the beginning of October.
They are very attractive to bumblebees, a plus for me as I'm always trying to bring more pollinators to my vegetables.
Baker Creek calls them balsam, and they are a relative of impatiens that were very much in style during Victorian times. For more information about growing these heirloom flowers, search for an article called "Balsam Flowers for the Heirloom Garden" by Jamie McIntosh.
They have two down sides: they get tatty by the end of the summer with what looks like downy mildew, and they don't make good cut flowers because they bloom from the bottom up.
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