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Can I do anything with these penstemon?

Hi everyone,

Hope you're enjoying the sunshine. I have these penstemon, which are an eyesore and getting in the way a bit. As I understand it I should leave them a bit longer? Is there anything I can do in the meantime to tidy them up a bit? I'm clueless on this sort of penstemon, thank you.


  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,875
    I cut mine right to the first leaf bud, they’ve survived the cold night,  I’m sure they’ll be fine,  always a worry at this time of the year in case you’re doing wrong but if I waited for last frost it would get done in May, and that’s too late. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,566
    Normally l would advise waiting until mid April, but looking at the forecast until at least the end of the month, l would seriously consider doing it now.
  • robairdmacraignilrobairdmacraignil CorkPosts: 586
    I have just been trimming the old stems off some of the penstemon in the garden here and will be cutting back most of the older growth on many of them over the next couple of weeks. The new stems are starting to grow from the base in the main type I have so I just cut back to a strong growing new shoot to allow it get back to a reasonable size fairly fast. There are different types and some I have found are hardier than others but cutting back around now seems to work fine with the main one I have growing. The only other survivor here is a darker flowered type that I think needs more conservative trimming as it did not bloom a lot after this type of treatment last year. I often find some of the older stems have started to layer themselves with new roots starting to form where they are near the ground so its also a good time to use these as cuttings for propagation if you would like to have more plants.

    Happy gardening!

  • Thanks for replying everyone. Where exactly do you mean by first leaf bud? I always get confused. Sorry for acciental muscari 😂
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