How Tall Are Your Impatiens?


By Phil Harwood

If you’re not a horticulturalist, Impatiens are garden flowers that grow profusely in the right conditions but perform terribly in the wrong environment. Most plants are this way but Impatiens take it to the extreme, making for a great analogy of how the same person may fail miserably at one company but be a superstar at the next company. It’s not the person or the plant, it’s the conditions they are thrust into. 

When you take a perfectly healthy tray of impatiens from the nursery and plant them in poor soil, full sun, and fail to water them daily, they will most likely die. On the other hand, if you take the same tray of impatiens and plant them in rich soil, filtered shade, and water daily, they will grow enormously. My impatiens (shown in photo) are over 25” tall, despite being munched regularly by the deer. The plant has no control over the situation. They are doomed to fail or blessed to thrive by the environment they are placed into. 

How many wonderful people “crash and burn” in employment situations where the environment was at fault, not the person? Too many to count. What are employers doing to solve this problem? If an impatiens needs rich soil, filtered sunlight, and lots of water, what does an employee need to thrive? I think we know the answer. It’s not that complicated. The hard part is actually doing what it is required. 

Before I planted my monster impatiens, I dug out the old soil down to about 10” and replaced it with fresh, organic plant mix. This was no small chore. It took the better part of a day to measure the beds, dig out and move the old soil, buy new soil, load it, unload it, and carefully place it just right. But that was what was required. 

The soil was rich and fluffy, mounded about 4” above the soil line. Before planting, I sprinkled a high-end flower fertilizer over the soil. Since planting, my impatiens have received 20 minutes of mist irrigation every day and another couple rounds of fertilizer. They are happy, happy, happy.  

My business partner at Professional Grounds Services (Detroit, MI), Dave Klier, used to brag to our customers that they would need to trim our flowers with hedge trimmers because of how tall they would grow. I still chuckle when I remember this line. It was a bit over-the-top but it was absolutely true. We also had the lowest employee turnover rate in our market. We understood the power in preparing an environment for success in our landscapes and in our business culture. 

GrowTheBench provides an affordable way to dramatically improve employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. Isn’t it time you took a closer look at

My impatiens are waist high. How tall are your impatiens?   

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