Most varieties of impatiens are small, flowering ornamental plants. All species belong to the balsam family. Impatiens are native to tropical areas, such as Mozambique, so they cannot tolerate frost or cold temperatures.
Impatiens is typically a small plant. The leaves have a fine to medium texture and can be somewhat fleshy. Flowers bloom all summer and come in shades of white, pink, orange, peach, red and bi-color. Both dwarf and tall forms exist; plants range from eight- to 24-inches-tall.
Impatiens will drop its small seeds and naturalize in tropical regions. It does nicely as a potted or hanging plant and prefers partial shade. Because it is an annual, you must replace it every spring, even if you attempt to protect it from winter cold. Impatiens grows well in standard potting soil or slightly acidic to neutral garden soil.
When you grow impatiens as a houseplant, it prefers temperatures above 50 degrees F. However, it will not die until the temperature drops to 32 degrees (freezing) or lower, according to the West Virginia University Extension Service.