Jewelweed Growing: How To Plant Jewelweed In The Garden
Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), also called spotted touch-me-not, is a plant that flourishes in conditions that few others will tolerate, including deep shade and soggy soil. Although it is an annual, once established in an area, it comes back year after year because the plants self-sow vigorously. Having foliage that glistens and sparkles when wet gives this Native American wildflower the name jewelweed. Keep reading to learn more about growing wild jewelweed impatiens.
What is Jewelweed?
Jewelweed is a wildflower in the Impatiens family that is commonly grown as a bedding annual. In the wild, you can find dense colonies of jewelweed growing in drainage areas, on stream banks, and in bogs. Wild jewelweed impatiens plants assist wildlife like butterflies, bees, and several types of birds including many songbirds and hummingbirds.
Jewelweed plants grow 3 to 5 feet (1-1.5 m.) tall and bloom from late spring to early fall. The orange or yellow flowers dotted with reddish brown spots are followed by explosive seed capsules. The capsules burst open at the slightest touch to fling seeds in every direction. This method of distributing seeds gives rise to the common name touch-me-not.
How to Plant Jewelweed
Choose a location in full or partial shade with rich, organic soil that stays wet or most. Jewelweed tolerates more sun in locations where summers are cool. If the soil lacks organic matter, dig in a thick layer of compost or rotted manure before planting.
Jewelweed seeds germinate best when stored in the refrigerator for at least two months before planting outdoors. Scatter the seeds over the surface of the soil when all danger of frost has passed. They need light to germinate, so don’t bury the seeds or cover them with soil. When the seedlings emerge, thin them to 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) apart by clipping out excess seedlings with a pair of scissors.
Jewelweed Plant Care
Jewelweed plant care is easy. In fact, it requires little care in areas where the soil stays wet. Otherwise, water often enough to keep the soil moist and apply a thick mulch.
The plants don’t need fertilizer in rich soil, but you can add a shovelful of compost in summer if they aren’t growing well.
Once established, the dense growth of plants discourages weeds. Until then, pull the weeds as necessary.
How to Grow and Care for Jewelweed
Jennifer Lesser is a New Jersey-based freelance writer covering health/fitness, family/parenting, business, and lifestyle. She has over 16 years of experience writing for various outlets including Time Out NY and Parenting
The Spruce / Adrienne Legault
Sometimes referred to as the spotted touch-me-not, jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) can flourish in environments that many other plants can’t tolerate. This includes in soggy soil and deep shade. The North American native appears to sparkle when wet, which is the source of its common name.
Planted in the spring after the threat of frost has passed, jewelweed has a fast growth rate. It can reach up to about 5 feet tall with branching, weak stems and blue-green, oval leaves that are toothed and partially fuzzy. In the summertime, cornucopia-shaped flowers appear, then give way to seed capsules that, when mature, can split at the slightest touch (which is how the plant got the name touch-me-not).
|Common Name||Jewelweed, orange jewelweed, spotted touch-me-not|
|Botanical Name||Impatiens capensis|
|Mature Size||2–5 ft. tall, 1.5–2.5 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Partial, shade|
|Soil pH||Acidic, neutral|
|Bloom Time||Summer, fall|
|Flower Color||Orange, yellow|
|Hardiness Zones||2–11 (USDA)|
|Native Area||North America|
Jewelweed is considered an easy plant to grow and requires little hands-on care once it’s established. It generally doesn’t have any issues with pests or diseases. And the dense growth of jewelweed can actually help to discourage the development of weeds, which will lower your garden maintenance overall. Just make sure the jewelweed is planted in an area where the soil remains moist.
Jewelweed plants grow higher when they are located in clusters. If seeds are sown close together, the plants will help to support each other as they develop taller stems. But if you’d like to keep your jewelweed on the shorter side, space the seeds farther apart.