One of New Zealand's most popular flowers likely to be wiped out by disease

One of New Zealand's most popular flowers is disappearing from shelves and gardens after the discovery of a disease.

They're known as Busy Lizzies; Impatiens have long been a gardener's favourite because of their instant colour and ease of growing.

But it's now been confirmed a devastating disease called Downy Mildew, prevalent in many parts of the world, has hit New Zealand and likely to wipe them all out.

The disease appears as a powdery fungus first at the back of the leaf which then makes its way down the stem and destroys the plants quickly.

"[The disease] could have been blown in by the wind or just come in accidentally on clothes, or some other way," said Matthew Dolan from New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated.

But however it got in, it's upset gardeners.

"Very disappointed, I liked them and they flower in profusion, and they flower for long periods," said John Corbett, while gardening expert Tony Morell said he adored the plants.

New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated is calling on all nurseries to destroy the plants, but one of the country's largest garden centre chains, Orderings, won't pull them just yet.

"We produce all our own plants and our own cuttings here, we haven't seen any sign of it in the South Island yet, well certainly not in Christchurch, all our plants are clean and clear," said Julian Ordering.

But with 300,000 Impatiens plants, if he discovers the disease on the plants, they would be destroyed.

"For nurseries that are continuing to sell these plants, we would anticipate that they'd be giving information to consumers so they know what to expect," said Mr Dolan.