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What's the trick with penstemon ?

(9 Posts)
didireallysaythat Thu 06-Mar-14 17:45:18

So you've seen the hayloft emails. Fab penstemon. I'm tempted. But I've never had a penstemon last longer than 12 months. Pots or garden, poor flowering then they die. I said I'd give up on them.

But now I've moved so the soil is different so maybe I can try again ?

What's the trick to keeping them going ?

Ferguson Thu 06-Mar-14 19:10:00

Yes - we have lost several over the years, and we are in South Devon, so not really cold. But our soil is very clay, and gets waterlogged.

I don't really know what penstemon need, but we have one now that has lasted a few years, called Blackbird, and has plenty of growth on it even through the winter.

I didn't know Hayloft, but just had a look.

Here's a link to Blackbird (though it's not black at all), and I guess you can only find as much expert advice as possible, and try to give them exactly what they need, as far as you can.

rainyside.com/plant_gallery/perennials/PenstemonBlackbird.html

Good luck

derektheladyhamster Thu 06-Mar-14 19:18:52

the only thing I do is chop them right back about now, to one or two little leaf growths. The one year I forgot to do this, they all died sad

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 06-Mar-14 19:50:58

All my penstemon died too. I read once that the narrower the leaf, the hardier they are, but they all seem to dislike my cold, wet, clay soil.

Pannacotta Thu 06-Mar-14 19:58:17

Sandy, free draining soil and plenty of sun is what they need. I have both and can grow some as perennials though some are still best used an annuals.

Rhubarbgarden Thu 06-Mar-14 20:05:49

I had one in London on clay and it went berserk, complete thug that had to be kept in check. Unhelpfully I can't remember which one. It may have been Blackbird.

Aquelven Thu 06-Mar-14 20:17:48

I've never had any luck with them either.
Tried them a few years, Hayloft & others, but all died. But I am in the north on a cold, windy hill so perhaps I'm being over optimistic

didireallysaythat Thu 06-Mar-14 20:27:06

I'm in the south east. Dry but arctic winds.

It's slightly consoling to find out it's not just me. But I might just take the plunge with blackbird as it looks robust !

Thank you all.

shouldbedoingtheironing Thu 06-Mar-14 22:26:32

Mine do well on very alkaline soil and in a south facing front garden. Not sure which ones I have but they go berserk most years and I've just cut mine right back again. Hope they'll have survived all the rain!

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