We have had our first frost here in New England, now it is time to garden tender annuals in defiance of the winter.

We have had our first frost here in New England, now it is time to garden tender annuals in defiance of the winter.

Going to show you how I propagate plant cuttings in the winter

Okay, here we go, this time for The Almost Free Garden I’m going to be working with impatiens. Whenever anyone ever asked me how I grew my plants the answer was, “Ach! It’s easy! Just stick em in water, then plant em in the spring.” There is a bit more going on than that and I hope to document it. I never really paid attention to how long they sat in the water, sometimes never got around to planting them until the spring. I don’t remember if they made it through the entire winter or if I just started over planting them as houseplants. This is the first time I’m going to be documenting how long they can sit in the water, how long the original container can go, and how well they grow as houseplants – Coleus’s love it, we will see about the Impatiens. I did bring a planter in last year and watered and fertilized it to survive through the winter. It made it, but it didn’t flourish. It is still alive in a container at work, sprouting the occasional pink flower.

Last years leftovers

Let’s see if I can get something great to happen here….

On to propagating impatiens cuttings

I brought the impatiens inside because the first frost came. I rescued them from certain death. I am a hero! So now I have multiple planters in my library.

Library turned greenhouse

They will get leggy and weaker without intervention. (Leggy is when plants do not get enough light and breezes and become tall and spindly.) I cut back the plants, which is where I got my clippings from. So now they have their own separate room full of sunshine and I’ll keep them watered and continue to get more clippings off them to keep propagating them. For the clippings, I chose stems that appeared healthy with 4 or more leaves on top. They were clipped at about 4-6 inches in length. The exception was the red and white striped one, known as Shady Lady. It was small and I really wanted to have them again next year, so they are a bit shorter, 2-3 inches. Shady Lady is a Red and White Stripe – mine looked more Pinkish. (I do not have pictures of the blooms.) BTW Bi color Impatiens patent ran out yesterday, October 12th, 2019!!!!! I am allowed to propagate!!!! See link below:


Impatiens propagation is fun and rewarding

So, I already clipped some off (should had taken some before pictures – GAH!) and put them into glasses to let them start rooting. It has been 2 weeks and you can now see these little hairs on them, roots!


Not everything went perfect, there were some losses.

Things get a bit scary, leaves wilt, fall off, and it looks like they are all going to die.

Do not despair! Patience with the Impatiens

Keep an eye on the water and dump it out after the first week or when they start to sprout roots. It is always a good idea to keep things clean. Rinse off the stems and roots, clean off any loose or dead leaves and put back in fresh water.

always darkest before the dawn

Below is the tiny Shady Lady clipping that I put in a little shot glass, not only did it sprout healthy roots after 3 weeks it now has a new leaf coming in!

Lil guyNew Leaf!

If things do not recover from wilting and leaf fall, it isn’t a great loss. They were going to be free anyway, right? By keeping the original host plants safely indoors you can try again. You have all winter, amiright? Take more clippings as they grow out and try again. If the host plants fail, which is a possibility, it is because their dirt has been there since the spring. They’ve been feeding and flowering and they have depleted the soil of nutrients. There are fertilizers that can be poured into the soil, probably will get you trough the winter. The plants will need to be replanted in the spring, otherwise you get a specimen like at the beginning of the post. I also find that you will get diminishing returns just adding fertilizer in my experience. I do not use Miracle grow or artificial fertilizers, feels unhealthy and kinda like cheating to me. The organic one I use is Dr. Earth 705P Organic 6 Flower Garden Fertilizer I have been using it since 2014. There’s just something about naturally healthy soil that makes them flourish. You can use Miracle Grow on your flowers, just not my thing.

Plant propagation stem cuttings

I do not use rooting hormone, just water. Maybe in a future post I will touch on that with an experiment. Now, I have roots on my clippings, but until I plant them they are just cut flowers with a lot of hope.


I’m going to be able to put them in soil to flower so I don’t have to buy them in the spring. So now I have these rooted, hopeful, clippings and the plan is to plant them in sour cream containers I have been saving for just this occasion. The big plan is to transfer big beautiful flowers into my spring gardens, then just toss the used sour cream containers into recycling. No storing or cleaning the old pots. Seems like a win to me.

Remember when

propagating plants cuttings…

We are propagating Impatiens Walleriana. They are a simple, beautiful and amazing to have in your containers.

are not talking about Impatiens Walleriana Balfiepuna, this is a beautiful double impatiens that cannot be propagated until
the patent runs out which is expected to happen on March 14, 2021. To do otherwise would be tantamount to stealing.


Nobody likes to be stolen from.

New Guinea Impatiens
are also under patent, the patents expire at different times, some on 2021, some others in 2026. So
please check if the patent is still active before propagating.

patents is a great resource.


The Saga continues!

Bloom where you are planted.

~The Bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

4 thoughts on “We have had our first frost here in New England, now it is time to garden tender annuals in defiance of the winter.

  1. I really like this post! I found it to be very informative, but I’ve never heard of these plants. I’m going to have to do some more research.
    As a side note, I also love the quote at the end. He was a great Catholic Saint!

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