Penstemon plant is a temperate zone darling and it thrives in most areas of the western United States. This plant is found in mountainous areas. Penstemon plant produces dozens of tubular flowers that is arranged on a tall stalk. Learn how to grow Penstemon plant and you will see the butterflies, birds and bees doing summersaults to get at the plentiful blooms and their sweet nectar.  


Penstemon Plant Information

If you have anytime gone for hiking in areas like Mexico to Western North America from May to August, you may have come across these attractive flowers. This plant is actually related to snapdragons and they come in a variety of cultivated hues for the home gardener. The flowers of the plants are perfectly shaped to accommodate hummingbirds, who spend their nesting period at the plant snack bar. Each of the plant flowers has 5 petals and they come in hues of lavender, pink, salmon, white and red. The plant stems are triangular and the leaves are arranged opposite with grayish green tones. A number of different species exist and more are in cultivation. The exact shape of the leaves varies in each cultivar of the Penstemon plants. They may be oval or sword shaped, smooth or waxy. The plant is a commonly found perennial, which can also grow as an annual in chilly or excessively hot regions.

How to Grow Penstemon Plant

Actually the best location for growing Penstemon is in a full sun area with well draining soil. The plant care and maintenance are minimal if the site and moisture requirements are met. Poorly draining soils and freezing temperatures while the Penstemon plant is still active are the biggest causes of plant mortality. The perennial is remarkably tolerant of drought conditions and is a stalwart presence in even low nutrient soils. It has had to be adaptable to thrive in windy, exposed areas of mountain foothills. You can grow the plant from seed. The plant begins as rosettes low to the ground before forming the characteristic flower stalk. Indoor sowing should begin in late winter. The seedlings are ready to transplant when they have a second set of true leaves. Space the Penstemon plants one to three feet (30 to 91 cm.) apart and mix in a little compost at planting time to help conserve water and increase porosity.  

Penstemon Plant Care and Maintenance

Ensure you water the young Penstemon plants at least once per week as they establish. You can reduce the watering as the Penstemon plant matures. You can mulch around the plants to help protect the roots from winter’s cold and prevent spring weeds. The plant flower spire will produce seed in late summer to early fall, and the petals fall away from the seeds. In my own opinion, the remaining seed head has interest and appeal and I leave them until the rain smashes them down, or cut them in late winter to make way for new growth. This plant makes an excellent cut flower, which will really last for at least a week. Go native and grow some Penstemon plants in your sunny perennial garden.

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