A fungal disease for flowers is causing at least one garden store in Nova Scotia to pull impatiens off the shelves. 

Impatiens, one of the most popular annuals for their bright, hardy nature, are being threatened by a plant disease called downey mildew.

For this reason, Halifax Seed says it isn't selling impatiens this year.

Mike Barclay, the manager at Halifax Seed, remembers the day last year he found it in his garden. He said it looks like a cloud of white powder floating in the air. 


Impatiens are popular annuals for their bright, hardy nature. (CBC)

“At first it looks like smoke. And there's this thought of, 'Oh, what is that?' And then I realized what I'd read about in the southern U.S., and I realized we have the downy mildew,” he said.  

Within days, Barclay's impatiens were dead. He says he can't risk replanting them this season. 

“It's said to stay in the soil for three or four years. So if you have it this year, chances are you're going to have it following years,” he said.

Sandra Herritt of Farmer Clem’s in Dartmouth says they've had no problems so far with downey mildew. 

“Our impatiens are grown in greenhouses, they're grown in a sterilized grower's mix. So there shouldn't be any problem with them when they're brought into our locations.”

Halifax Seed is recommending a switch away from the old standby to possible alternatives such as begonias.