By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Frosty fall nights finish off lots of flowering annuals, cueing you to clean up your garden. But this year you have extra incentive to tidy up if you planted impatiens.

Recently I talked about impatiens downy mildew, a disease that’s decimating this popular bedding plant. It can’t be cured and it’s spreading fast – but here’s something you can do to help stop it: clean out every place where you planted impatiens this year.

Remove plants, roots, and surrounding debris – I even took off the top inch or so of mulch – and put it all in plastic bags in the regular trash – don’t put it in your compost. See more photos of the damage from impatiens downy mildew so you can recognize it in your own garden at

If you’re not sure whether your plants are affected, because so many plants are, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Because this disease can survive the winter, you probably won’t be able to plant those same kinds of impatiens in the same spots next year – or for years to come. We’ll talk about what else you can plant at another time. For now, all you can do is sanitize garden beds and planters by clearing out and trashing this year’s impatiens plants.

Learn more about how the disease thrives and survives at

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