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Overgrown Penstemon

B3B3 Posts: 25,247
I have an overgrown penstemon. It's 3 or 4 years old. The main stem is very thick.
Can I prune it now?
Can I be brutal?
In London. Keen but lazy.

Posts

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,932
    I would ... but I'd also take cuttings as a back up.   I find heel cuttings work well with penstemons. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.





  • B3B3 Posts: 25,247
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,932
     :) 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.





  • B3B3 Posts: 25,247
    All done. Some of the stems had nobbly rooty things near the bottom so I potted those ones up.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 3,864
    This is my experience with Penstemon 'Garnet' (one of the toughest P. cultivars).
    Planted about 3 specimens back in 2000. Divided in 2014. Moved to several new locations in the garden.
    They tend to become quite woody in a few years' time. Also, some of the roots can rot or dry and die, but it doesn't mean the whole plant dies, on the contrary.
    When I do the annual cleaning at the end of winter, I prune most stems to about 40 cm from the ground. I cut and remove any dead-looking stems, sometimes I just pull them out.
    I don't take cuttings, it's not necessary. If I need new specimens I just uproot those parts that have self-layered all around the main root.
    Good luck with your potted specimens, @B3 What cultivars are they?
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,247
    edited March 2020
    Not garnet. They're red with a white throat. King something,I think. Ive noticed that a few varieties layer and I assume that's what the nobbly bits are about. When I first started growing them, I was a bit ' precious ' but now that I realise that they aren't so delicate as I thought, I feel a bit more confident about moving and dividing.
    Thanks for the advice @Papi Jo
    There's a white one I'm going to have a go at when the weather warms up. It's not one of the really woody ones so I think I'll be more care with that one
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,735
    I have penstemon King George, answers to red with white throat, haven't cut it down yet.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 3,864
    @B3 I've had an all-white P. but it soon disappeared, more fragile I guess.
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,247
    Mine has managed two years but hasn't done much compared to the vigorous ones.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Janie BJanie B Posts: 893
    I have Garnet and Raven, both seem pretty hardy, which I cut down really low a couple of days ago, as both were pushing up new shoots from the base. I also have had some Husker's Red (red leaves, white flowers) which gave up the ghost pretty soon after I'd put them in... 
    Lincolnshire
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