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VIVA! SunPatiens

Finally, Impatiens for Full Sun!

SunPatiens® will be in all Home Depot garden centers this spring. Most northern markets will have them in mid- to late May, while supplies last. They will be available earlier in the warmer areas of the country.

For quick growing info, check our Plant Library data base.


SunPatiens' breeder, Sakata, talks about SunPatiens- read more

SunPatiens were a hit at the LSU Ag Center- read more

SunPatiens were a trial Plant of the Month at the Dallas Arboretum- read more

One of our favorite gardening projects is finding new plants – especially when they are breakthroughs. SunPatiens® are the first impatiens that thrive in FULL SUN and HIGH HEAT gardens. America’s favorite garden flowers just got better with this high color series of sun loving plants. Compared to other impatiens, SunPatiens are better in sun, better in areas of high heat and high humidity, and have more garden vigor than most other impatiens. 

SunPatiens at University of Georgia – full sun and heat testWhen other impatiens burn up in the sun or stop flowering due to warm temperatures, SunPatiens just get better. We have seen SunPatiens plants for several summers in Georgia, Florida, as well as in garden trials in Dallas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, to name a few – and this plant digs summer weather. Take a look at a picture from our secret test bed at the University of Georgia. The SunPatiens grew to large knee high plants covered in flowers while all the other plants struggled.


Why are SunPatiens® better?SunPatiens Tropical Punch - magenta

What makes these SunPatiens so special is they are a new species – a cross between traditional New Guinea impatiens and a wild impatiens. The plants have the good sized flower of a New Guinea but now have strong garden vigor that allows them to grow well in all summer conditions. Garden vigor and a slightly thicker leaf wall are the secret to impatiens sun and heat show.

SunPatiens Compact vs. Vigorous Series:
In 2008 a compact series joined the original vigorous series – VIVA! SunPatiens now fits well in the garden as well as smaller patio pots and baskets!  The first introductions of vigorous Sunpatiens will get up to 24-30” tall in the garden. The vigorous types grow quickly and are perfect for garden beds or in most northern gardens that have a short growing season. 

Compact Coral SunPatiens Compact Lilac SunPatiens Compact White SunPatiens Compact Orange SunPatiens

The compact series will be great in all containers from window boxes to baskets to patio pots as well as keeping their shape in the hotter climates of the deep south. Our initial trials saw many people drawn to the new ‘Compact Blush Pink’ and the showy ‘Compact Lilac’. Expect a finished height of 18” to 24”.
The variegated leaf ‘Spreading Salmon’ is a hit year after year for both for baskets and for patio pots.  Later to bloom than the other VIVA! SunPatiens – this plant has great color in the leaves as well in the flowers.


General Information on SunPatiens®:

  • Plant in full sun to partial shade. We think all morning or all afternoon sun will be enough for SunPatiens to do well. All of our trials had the SunPatiens in full, all-day sun. Avoid heavy shade as plants will stretch.
  • Plants are robust in garden with a finished garden height of about 18"-30”.
  • As SunPatiens are tall in the garden, we suggest the following planting layouts:
    • In groups – Plantings look great in small groups of 5 to 7 plants, or more! The SunPatiens plants will grow together to create a giant block of color.
    • SunPatiens Tropical Orange- bright orangeAs a background plant – We like SunPatiens as a background plant with shorter items in the foreground.  One display we liked had SunPatiens and sun Coleus in the background – with Petunias, dwarf Marigolds, Helianthus Dakota, and Pentas in front. Creeping Portulaca is another good foreground plant with SunPatiens.
    • In patio pots - Use SunPatiens in the center of the pot with trailing Calibrachoa, Verbena or Vinca Vines along edge of pot.
  • Like most impatiens, SunPatiens should be well watered. We like to put 2"-3” of mulch around the soil after planting to help keep soil moisture high. We generally see SunPatiens using less water than similar sized New Guinea impatiens.
  • Flower size is medium. Plants are covered in flowers all summer.
  • Feed sparingly. A light application of VIGORO 2X Plant Food will carry you through the summer.
  • SunPatiens are annuals in most of North America – but may take a light frost.  Zone 11.
  • If planted in a semi-shady location, a light pruning of the stems in mid-summer will keep it from getting too leggy. Only prune if needed.


The Home Depot's garden merchant, Mike Duvall, observing SunPatiens garden performance at the University of Georgia trial gardens.

Where Did SunPatiens® Originate?SunPatiens at this summer's Cannes Film Festival – enjoying the sun and stars

SunPatiens were bred in Japan by one of the world’s most famous flowering breeding company, Sakata Seed. Sakata is well known for pansies and is the originator of the well known 'Majestic Giant' Pansy.  The breeders at Sakata had been trying for years to find a new flowering plant to thrive in the hot and humid summers of Japan – if you can imagine hotter and more humid than even Florida! After many ideas and breeding crosses, they developed SunPatiens to handle both sun and heat. The first SunPatiens are upright garden plants with a V-shaped branching habit and many flowers. Sakata will be adding other colors of SunPatiens each year, and we are currently helping to test plants for later introduction.