Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Impatiens balsamina L.

Frost tender, sparsely-branched annual with cup-shaped, hooded, pink, red, purple or white flowers in summer and autumn.  To 75cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘I maintain that with no very great attention, and with little gardening knowledge, an amateur may produce Balsams in first rate beauty.’  [Gard. Chron. 1850].  ‘Few plants are more generally cultivated and more useful for decoration in the greenhouse than the Balsam.  It is a plant of exceedingly vigorous habit, and unless its energies are properly directed from the commencement it speedily assumes a lanky, naked appearance, which no after care can correct.’  [Gard. Chron. 1853].  Impatiens balsamina became something of a florists’ flower in the mid-19th century.  In 1838 Don wrote: ‘The varieties of this elegant plant, which cultivation has produced, are numerous, white, pale-coloured, red, purple, striped and variegated with these colours, single and double of each.’  An advertisement for William Jones, Seedsman and Florist, London in The Gardeners Chronicle listed ‘Twelve Extra fine double Balsams’, striped scarlet, striped purple, mottled scarlet, mottled purple, mottled crimson, rose, purple, scarlet, white, rosy-purple, crimson and rosy-scarlet.  [Gard. Chron. 1850].  Wm. Rollinson & Sons in the same journal offered 6 varieties of ‘Smith’s superb double Balsams’ as well as double Camellia-flowered varieties.  [Gard. Chron. 1856].  Introduced to Britain in 1596.  [JD]. 

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [H.116/1843].


Published Feb 08, 2009 - 04:41 PM | Last updated Jul 14, 2010 - 04:48 PM

Family Balsaminaceae
Region of origin

Tropical Asia

  • Balsamina hortensis Desp.
Common Name


Name in the Camden Park Record

Impatiens balsamina

Confidence level high