Common name: Balsam
This half-hardy annual, a native of South east Asia can be bedded out in sheltered areas, and is useful as a house or greenhouse plant.
They have thick succulent stems and light green serrated leaves, and grow to a height of 750mm (30") depending upon variety.
The 50mm (2")in diameter flowers that appear from early summer until the first frosts can be single or double. These either bloom singly or in small clusters from the leaf axils.
The colours range is; white, pink, rose, red, violet, plus the occasional bicolour.
Purple Balsam Variety
Red Balsam Variety
Balsams prefer a moisture retentive well-drained soil in either full sun or partial shade.
Apply a balanced liquid feed weekly from May to September.
Sow seeds in pots/trays of seed compost, and germinate at a temperature of 18°C (65°F)
Germination should take about 5-7 days.
Week 15- 16:
Prick out the seedlings, when large enough to handle, into cell trays or 50mm (2") pots of potting compost.
Later pot on into 75mm (3") pots, and gradually harden them off in a frost free cold frame until planting out or potting up time.
Plant out in borders 400-500mm (15"-18") apart in fertile well-drained soil, in full sun or partial shade.
Once growth is established pinch out the growing tip to encourage bushier plants.
Those to be grown in pots should be transplanted into suitable sized pots of Ji2 potting compost (or equivalent) then placed in a sunny sheltered spot.