Two alien species in Europe, Impatiens glandulifera and I. balfourii, are closely related, have similar growth rates and reproductive capacities, and are very attractive to pollinators. Nevertheless, only I. glandulifera is a highly invasive alien species in Europe, while I. balfourii is non-invasive. We assumed that the varying levels of invasiveness are driven by differences in the floating ability of their seeds, which may determine the invasion success of riparian alien plants, such as the Impatiens species. By mimicking two types of aquatic conditions, we determined seed floating ability for each species from younger and older populations. We also analyzed four seed traits: seed viability, surface, shape and coat structure. Seeds of the non-invasive I. balfourii float less well than seeds of the invasive I. glandulifera. We also found that the seeds of I. balfourii from the younger population have a higher floating ability in comparison with that of the seeds from the older population. The results for I. glandulifera were the opposite, with decreased floating ability in the younger population. These differences were associated with seed surface, shape and coat structure. These results indicate that the floating ability of I. balfourii seeds may increase over time following its introduction into a given area, while in the case of I. glandulifera, this ability may gradually decrease. Therefore, the former species, currently regarded as a poor disperser, has the potential to become invasive in the future, whereas the latter does not seem to benefit from further investments in the floating ability of its seeds.