According to the description, the penstemon flower cannot be confused with any other garden plant. It grows on a long stem with large powerful leaves. There are few branches, pink or purple flowers are arranged alternately right on the stem. There are species in which the bells are white or deep blue. The flowers themselves are velvety to the touch. But for some reason, this plant is little known among our summer residents and flower growers. In America, on the contrary, it grows both in the wild and in home flower beds.
Some types of flower called penstemon can be called ideal garden plants. Judge for yourself: they winter stably, bloom profusely and for a long time, self-sow, take root easily. What more could you want?
The flowering period is May – June. This is convenient for flower growers, since by this time spring plants have already had time to fade, and summer plants have not yet been revealed in all their glory. If you plant this plant, then your flower bed will not look “naked” during this period.
Growing perennial penstemons from seeds and cuttings (with photo)
This is one of the few plants that grows well both in the ground in the garden and in indoor pots and outdoor vases. Planting a penstemon plant and caring for it in the open field does not require much effort, but still, before planting it, it is worth understanding some of the features.
These flowers are very easy to propagate. If you want to propagate a plant that you already had in your garden, then you can do it by cuttings. The cuttings of this flower take root well in autumn and spring.
It is necessary to break off a branch at the base of the bush, dig it in, water it and cover it with a jar or bag. In two weeks you will have a new plant.
In the photo – the cultivation of a new penstemon by propagating the root. Look at what size the pot should be in order for the root of an adult plant to feel free:
But cuttings do not give active flowering in the first year. If you want penstemon to please your eye this coming summer, you should plant seeds.
Sowing seeds is a little more difficult: some species germinate easily in the heat (pubescent penstemon), others, mostly “hump”, require stratification. But in any case, only the first couple of months will have to tinker.
It is best to start growing penstemon flower from seeds in early spring. But if you have a variety of “Hard-leaved”, then you can do this in the winter. This species is planted directly into the soil. The main thing is to cover it with snow in time so that it does not freeze. This variety of flower tolerates winter very well and sprouts in open soil in spring due to the fact that it has a strong stem.
If you are going to plant a different variety, use pots for growing seedlings. The soil in which you plant the seeds must be very moist. This condition is important to observe when planting penstemon from seeds and caring for it in the coming weeks. Non-rigid varieties do not have a powerful stem, so the sprout may not break through dry soil.
In order for the soil to remain sufficiently moist, after planting it should be sprinkled with disinfected sand (disinfection is easy to do on your own – just pour boiling water over the sand). Sand should be covered with a film or thin glass. This will create a greenhouse effect for the soil, it will remain warm and moist, as a result, the seeds will sprout better.
From the seeds, the penstemon sprout will break through in 2-3 weeks. In order for the plant to feel comfortable, it is necessary to keep it at a temperature of 18-24 degrees for the first weeks after planting. When the sprouts get a little stronger, you can transfer the pots to a room with a temperature of 12-16 degrees. Around this period, it is worth planting the shoots in larger pots with fertilizer. Peat or leaf litter is well suited for these purposes. You can continue to transplant the sprouts into larger pots or even separate them. But this should be done only when the sprout gets stronger and gives a few leaves.
Planting penstemon flowers in the ground and caring for them outdoors should begin no earlier than the end of May. If you plant too early, they will bloom only by autumn. If you do everything on time, then for the first year, wait for flowering in the middle of summer.
It is recommended to adhere to the following cultivation technology:
- In order for the plant to feel comfortable, plant the bushes at least 30 cm apart from each other.
- It is recommended to choose a quiet place for this flower, as very delicate inflorescences can be cut off by the wind. If planting in a sunny place, do not forget about frequent watering – the bushes will not withstand drying out.
- Also, if you start growing a penstemon flower from seeds, you should pay attention to drainage. Young roots cannot stand standing water in spring and winter. If they get wet, the plant may die or weaken. For the winter, in addition to drainage, it is worth covering the young roots with fallen leaves.
- You can periodically loosen the earth around the rhizome – this will ensure the best heat and water exchange in the soil.
- It is not worth fertilizing a flower in open soil – all the minerals will be taken by the leaves, and this will not affect the density of flowering.
In the photo you see the cultivation of penstemon from seeds. See how it’s done step by step:
Penstemons have two disadvantages:
- The first is the relative immaturity of plants. The life of one bush is four to five years. But is it really a problem when you can rejuvenate a plant by planting a cutting instead. This plant is not inferior in riot of color and density to the bush, which was grown from seeds.
- The second is the susceptibility of penstemons, mostly miniature, to fungal diseases. There are remedies against them – fungicides and copper preparations.
For clarity, look at the photo of a young penstemon, planting and caring for which began with a cutting:
Growing perennial panstemon flowers is not the most difficult task for a hardworking gardener, but this flower will decorate any flower bed.
Digitalis and other types of penstemons
There are many species and subspecies of this flower. Each of them differs in the color of the bells, size or leaves. They have many possibilities. Depending on the idea of the grower and the type chosen, they can either become a background for large-flowered plants, or act as a tapeworm, or decorate a rock garden.
Those species that grow in gardens are called perennials. But everyone is used to considering perennial plants that live for 10-15 years. Perennial types of penstemon grow for about 4 years.
In the garden, this plant goes well with roses.
The combination – pubescent penstemon (P. hirsutus) and rose ‘Abraham Darby’ appeared after a snowless frosty winter of 2002-2003. Penstemon, growing on a hill, was badly burned. I had to transplant it into a flower garden. Paired with a rose, he was almost by accident, but the duet of luxurious roses with a cloud of small flowers came out stunning. Penstemon hibernates regularly, calmly treats the powder with earth during the winter hilling of roses, and even gives abundant self-sowing.
Perennial bearded penstemon (P. barbatus) is suitable for white and light orange roses – in the photo below you can see that its flowers look like fiery sparks:
It also looks very good bush, planted by itself, like a tapeworm.
Another discovery is penstemon vipleanus (P. whippleanus) with stunning dark flowers.
It blooms in June, along with peonies, which allows you to create an expressive composition. It is good to plant a horned violet to this species. The plant blooms almost without interruption and is very suitable for penstemon in color.
One of the species of this plant is worth talking about separately. The real giant is the foxtail penstemon. He is over a meter tall. But the flowers are especially good – they are pink on the outside, and white inside.
A separate article is penstemons for a rocky garden.
In the world “mountaineering” the use of Davidson’s penstemon (P. davidsonii) is considered a classic.
And its closest relatives – bush penstemon (P. fruticosus).
Penstemon borovogo (P. rupicola), etc.
Plants are distinguished not only by compactness and abundant flowering, but also by a rare quality for our climate – all these species are evergreen.
Look at the photo of this panstemon flower. Decorative bushes all year round, however, in the spring in the bright sun they can burn:
Other types are suitable for the slide. Extremely good penstemon procerus (P. procerus) and its many varieties.
In Hall’s dwarf penstemon (P. hallii), the flowers seem huge compared to the small leaves.