Growing and Saving the Seed of Balsam


Latin name Impatiens balsamina is a tropical annual flower native to southern Asia. Balsam adds a tropical feel to gardens, and its blooms are frequented by a wide range of pollinator species from bees to birds.


 

HISTORY

Balsam has been called on extensively in Eastern medicine as a topical relief for skin ailments from rashes to snakebites.

USES

  • Ornamental.
  • Beds, borders, containers, cottage garden.
  • Plants are edible when cooked and eaten in moderation, be aware that the plants are relatively high in oxalates.

 

 


 

  • Seeds germinate in 10-15 days.
  • Sow indoors about 8 weeks before the last frost date.
  • Cover seeds with a light dusting of soil.
  • A humidity dome will help to keep plants consistently moist.

 

  • Provide moist, well-drained soil.
  • Plants tolerate sun but prefer part shade.
  • Space plants 12 inches apart.

PESTS/SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

  • Balsam is fairly pest-free; however, powdery mildew can be a problem if the foliage is consistently too wet. Avoid overhead watering; drip irrigation will help to avoid excess moisture on foliage.

 

  • Balsam is nicknamed "Touch-Me-Not" for its exploding seed pods. When the seeds are ripe, the pods will burst open and fling seeds across the garden.
  • To avoid this scattering of seeds, simply place a small breathable bag (cheesecloth is best) over blooms after they have dropped their petals and begun to turn yellow.
  • After seeds explode in the bag, gently remove the bag and store the seeds for next season. Seeds remain viable for up to 2 years.