When searching for a tough yet beautiful plant to add to your flowerbeds, you can rarely go wrong with pleasant penstemons. These reliable plants are known as summer-flowering perennials, meaning they will essentially last indefinitely if taken care of but only flower during the summer period. During the winter, you’ll still enjoy some attractive semi-evergreen stems and leaves, but with an intense burst of colour during the summer months. Here are some tips on how you can grow penstemon flowers in your garden.
Choose A Great Location
As with most plants, penstemons will require sunshine to live. Certain plants can thrive in the dingiest conditions, such as ferns and other shrubs that can survive underneath a canopy or in the shade of a larger plant, but the penstemon is not one of these. These plants enjoy being the centre of attention, and it’s fair to say that plenty of gardeners prefer them to take centre stage, too. The incredibly beautiful flowers of penstemons can vary significantly, from delicate pinks and subtle yellows to punchy reds and otherworldly blues. To ensure that your penstemon plant can give everything it has got, however, you’ll want to make sure you plant it somewhere with plenty of sunshine, or at the very most, somewhere with light shade.
Use The Correct Soil
Penstemons prefer to sit in a well-drained soil mixture and can even grow in mixes that are predominantly comprised of sand. They really don’t do well in soil that doesn’t drain easily, so avoid anything claggy like peat or clay. As well as choosing a soil mixture that can drain easily, you should also choose one that is slightly more alkaline. When it comes to choosing where to plant them, you should consider a sloped area or even a raised bed to help them avoid overly wet conditions. Plant them with their crowns just above the soil when transplanting them to another spot. If you’re growing them from seeds, sow them near the surface about an inch deep so the seeds can stay moist, but the seedlings can easily emerge.
Keep Them Tidy
One of the great things about penstemons is that they require very little in regard to pruning. When penstemons bloom, they will produce flowers shaped like bells and attract plenty of pollinating insects to them. When flowers are in bloom, you can generally leave them to do their thing, but once these flowers have died back and the seasons begin to change, you may want to consider removing the stems to encourage new growth. You can extend the flowering of your penstemons by deadheading but avoid removing what is known as the seed heads so that your plants can reseed.
Look After Your Plants
Sadly, penstemons, just like many other garden plants, can become the target of certain irritating pests. While you won’t find anything that is devastatingly serious, your penstemons can be a source of food for critters like snails and slugs, so keeping them at bay is important. Alongside these pests, certain diseases can also hit your penstemons, such as rust, leaf spot, and southern blight. Unfortunately, many leaf diseases like rust and leaf spot will require you to destroy the plant if badly affected, as it can spread, causing many more issues for your garden. Be vigilant with spotting tell-tale signs of diseases, such as leaf discolouration or limpness of the plant as a whole.