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Exotic Appearance: In Victorian England, balsam was all the rage, a recent import from Asia and adored for its exotic appearance. With their layers of soft velvety petals, the blossoms resemble small camellia flowers and the seed heads explode when fully ripe, just like other types of impatiens. The leaves are narrow, about four inches long, and oval-shaped with a pointed tip and a have lush, almost tropical looks. What Balsam Wants: Plant balsam seedlings directly in the beds where they are to grow once the soil has warmed and the chilly nights of early spring have passed. Planting soil should be loose and enriched with compost. Balsam is surprisingly tolerant of both sun and shade, though it's best to avoid the extremes of either. In really hot climates, afternoon shade is best. In deep shade, balsam survives but looks leggy and bears few flowers. Regular moisture is important to keep the lush foliage of balsam looking its best. Landscape Use: Growing about 16 to 20 inches tall on average on erect stalks, balsam is best planted in masses with low-lying plants in the foreground and taller species in the background. It is a traditional cottage garden plant and often seeds itself, making it a good candidate to combine with other self-seeders, like cosmos or lupine, for a colorful, half-wild display.