Planting Instructions for Penstemon Flower Seeds

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Penstemon Planting and Care Guide

Quick Facts About Penstemon

Penstemon has the common name Beardtongue. They are in the same family as snapdragons and foxgloves with a tubular shape flower. Penstemons are drought tolerant plants and are found in hot areas and deserts, and they make a nice addition to the xeriscape. Deer stay away from the flowers, but hummingbirds love them.

Planting Time

If planting directly outside, plant in late fall after several frosts. The seed will lie dormant through the winter and then germinate in the spring. Or, following a 2 - 4 week cold treatment, sow the seeds indoors 6 - 8 weeks prior to the end of frost season.

Planting Location

Penstemons need full sun and well-draining, lean soil. Compost may be too rich, so do not amend the soil. They do not like being crowded.

How to Plant Penstemon

  • Penstemon seeds respond to cold, so prior to starting indoors, dampen soil or sand and add the seeds in. Place this mixture in the refrigerator for 2 - 4 weeks
  • Following the cold period, sow the flower seeds in starter trays
  • Press the seeds into the soil but do not cover
  • Keep the trays continually moist and warm for germination
  • Once there are seedlings, place the tray in a sunny window or under grow lights for 14 hours each day
  • When are are two sets of true leaves, harden off the seedlings for 7 - 10 days prior to planting out
  • Or, weed and work the garden soil in the fall
  • Once there have been a few frosts, sow the Penstemon seeds on the surface and press them in
  • The seeds will lie dormant through the winter and germinate when the conditions are right the following spring

Care And Maintenance

  • Once established, Penstemons need about 1 inch of water each week
  • There's no need to fertilize
  • There's no need to mulch - the crowns may rot with organic mulch or bark mulch
  • To help with weed suppression, some gravel can be "mulched" around the base
  • Flowers can be trimmed back after blooming
  • They will self-sow if the flowers are left
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