How to Grow Penstemon

Tree Branch

About Growing Penstemon Plants in Your Flower Garden

You will just love growing perennial Penstemon flowers. Native to the hills and mountain regions of California, there are a couple of hundred species of beautiful Penstemon plants. And, you aren’t the only one who loves them.. Hummingbirds love them, too. Do you suppose that gardeners and homeowners alike, love these trumpet-shaped flowers because they attract hummingbirds!? ……..Hmmmmmmm.

Also called Beardtongue, Penstemon is a highly attractive and popular flowering plant. Trumpet-shaped blooms, on this perennial plant, come in white, red, pink, purple, and lavender. When in bloom, they will attract hummingbirds to your yard and flower beds.

The most popular variety of Penstemon grows two to three feet tall. They look good in beds and borders. Make sure to grow them within sight of your window or deck, where you can watch the hummingbirds, as they visit the flowering blooms.

Penstemon makes good-cut flowers for use in indoor arrangements.

Flowers Bloom: Summer through Fall

Other Names: Beardtongue

Plant height: 24″ – 30″

Hardiness Zones: 3 – 8

Penstemon Gloxiniodes

Penstemon Plant Propagation

Penstemons are grown from seeds. Sow Penstemon seeds directly into your flower garden after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed. Or, start them indoors. Place these small seeds at the top of the loose soil, and water lightly into the soil.  

Perennial Penstemon can also be propagated by rhizomes. We recommend you dig up and divide the plants every 3-5 years. Simply dig up mature rhizomes, and replant them. Make sure to offer some of these attractive flowers to your gardening friends.

Days to Germination: 7 – 14 days.

About Seed Germination

How to Grow Penstemon Flower Plants

Penstemon plants are easy to grow. They prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade. It is a cool-weather plant. If you live in hotter areas of the country, plant them in partial shade.

Penstemon plants need well-drained soil. They thrive in loose, gravelly soil, and will do best in raised beds, or on hillsides and slopes.

Final Plant Spacing: Space or thin plants to about 18″ apart.

Water plants during dry periods. The plant’s roots do not go deeply. Water to a depth of three to four inches. Allow the soil to dry between watering.

Add general purpose fertilizer when planting, and every four to six weeks during the season. Switch to a high phosphorous formula just before the blooming period.

Keep the areas weeded when plants are young. Then, apply a layer of mulch. This will help keep weeds down and give a neat and tidy appearance.

Cut spikes when in full bloom, and place them in your favorite vase. Or, leave them in the flowerbed to attract hummingbirds. After blooming, cut back spent flower spikes. This will promote re-blooming.

When the season is over, cut the plants back. Add a layer of mulch in colder regions, to protect the rhizomes over the winter.

Ideal Soil pH: 5.5 – 7.0.

Also, see:

Plant Problems – Identify the causes and find the cures.

Insects and Plant Disease

Insect problems are uncommon.

Perennial penstemon can see a variety of fungal diseases. Watch for plant disease and treat with a fungicide as soon as possible. 

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