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Extensive trialling leads to resilient Imara impatiens walleriana

Imara, the new impatiens walleriana from Syngenta Flowers is more resistant to downy mildew than ever before, which took scientists years to develop. During intensive, large-scale trialling, Imara out-performed other varieties even when exposed to the disease. The testing confirmed the series has strong resilience against downy mildew and will perform well for gardeners lasting until first frost.

“Syngenta has been committed to bringing back impatiens walleriana and we spent the past nine years developing Imara,” said Joost Kos, Head of Research & Development at Syngenta Flowers. “We found a natural source of disease resistant plants and started a program for classical breeding. Imara have been tested for performance in gardens and greenhouses so consumers and growers benefit from this next generation of impatiens walleriana.”

“Imara have proven to offer compact, long flowering periods and exceptional colour at retail, in addition to their strong resilience to downy mildew,” said Kos. “We are very excited to bring the joy of impatiens walleriana back to consumers and for growers to add the plant back into production without fear of downy mildew’s destruction.”

The team at Syngenta evaluated over 5,000 seedlings to find genetics that would not succumb to downy mildew. Once discovered, Imara were also tested in greenhouse and field trials for plant habit, flowering time, flower quality and uniformity. Their performance was confirmed by trials at Syngenta Jealott’s Hill Research Centre and independent trials at Stockbridge Technology Centre in 2017.

“The trials at both Jealott’s Hill and Stockbridge were heavily infected with obligate biotrophic Plasmopara obducens,” said John Gordon, technical specialist at Syngenta Flowers. “Only Imara displayed a significant level of tolerance to even severe levels of infection.”

Syngenta continues to invest in the development of Imara and hopes to add more colours to the series to meet the needs of consumers, retailers and growers. It is currently available in white, red, rose, violet, orange, orange star and a mix.

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