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Curious about penstemons

B3B3 Posts: 15,485
I was wondering why they are so drought tolerant. They don't have the same kind of leaves as your usual drought tolerant plants. Some of mine were baked solid in bone dry clay and they weren't even wilting.
Ive given them a good soak anyway.
In London. Keen but lazy.

Posts

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,789
    They come from the north American prairies so are made for dry conditions.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • B3B3 Posts: 15,485
    But how? The leaves are soft and plentiful. Is there something about them that holds onto water?
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,789
    Dunno.  Deeper roots?  Less transpiration?   I have a load here too in the rose garden.  Planted last autumn and in flower since December, practically non stop but then I do go and remove stems that have turned to seed.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,769
    The dryer the ground is, the deeper the roots will go to find water. I don’t water anything in my garden. 
    Probably used to be a bit wetter than most places but not for past few years.

    My dad said to me that if you water the garden you need to stand there all night, or leave the hose on it all night, if you don’t, you’ll do more harm than good.  So now when I plant out, I give the plant a really good soak and tread it in well, that’s it’s lot. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • B3B3 Posts: 15,485
    edited July 2020
    Treat em mean and keep em keen😉

    I must admit, I've never dug one out to see how deep the roots go. There's a whole unexplored damp world of worms, beasties, bluebell bulbs down there a bit like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - more like 2 foot under the soil
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,492
    Certain penstemon have done better for me than others.. and I have you beat for dry and hot.  Rocky Mountain have been the best for me.. south facing on a heat trap with sandy soil.. and whatever water they can get from the sprinkler that hits the lawn a few feet away.  Occasionally it will droop the flower heads if very dry, but a water with the hose pipe quickly perks it back up with no ill effect.

    No idea why it's so tough.. my other varieties which were smaller and finer leaves have all kicked the bucket over the past few years (planted right next to each other in the same conditions).. where as the Rocky Mountain is large with wide-ish leaves.  A mystery.  
    Utah, USA.
  • B3B3 Posts: 15,485
    It puzzled me. My mind meanders through life's mysteries when I'm watering the garden. Zen watering? Mindful watering?
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,492
    You've kept your curiosity into adulthood.  That is something to celebrate.. as most of my adult interactions seem to show very few ever stop to 'wonder' about something (or anything).  I think it’s probably what makes you a good gardener.. we are all curious scientists.  
    Utah, USA.
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