New website assists gardeners in choosing impatiens alternatives

Gardeners and landscapers looking for alternative plants to impatiens because of downy mildew infections can utilize a new Michigan State University Extension website.

Gardeners who dealt with downy mildew infections in impatiens last year (2012) will be interested in a new Michigan State University Extension website that lists alternative plants to consider. The user-friendly website, Alternatives to Impatiens, briefly describes the potential problems with downy mildew and provides a whole host of alternative plants to consider.

The website is offered in two formats: a traditional website (flor.hrt.msu.edu/IDM/index.htm) and a mobile-optimized website (viewed from a smartphone at flor.hrt.msu.edu/IDM/mobileindex.htm).

Gardeners and landscapers are encouraged to plant alternatives if they experienced plant loss due to impatiens downy mildew last year. Symptoms of impatiens downy mildew include leaf yellowing followed by leaf curling and then leaf dropping (Photo 1), or a fuzzy-white coating on the underside of leaves (Photo 2).

Downy mildew symptoms
Photo 1. A container of garden impatiens that has been infected
with impatiens downy mildew. Notice the leaf yellowing, leaf curling
and, finally, leaf dropping.

Underside of leaf
Photo 2. The underside of an impatiens leaf infected with impatiens
downy mildew. Notice the fuzzy-white coating.

Gardeners may begin to see signage developed by MSU Extension in independent retail garden centers this spring with alternative plants that can be used as well as a QR code that links to the website. Gardeners can access the mobile-optimized website on their smartphones by scanning the QR code using any QR reader application.

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