Chris9Chris9 Posts: 93


I bought the free  Penstemons that  was on offer last week, but not sure what to do, sorry but love a bargain.  Will I need to pot these plants up and keep under cover if so, how long will I need to keep undercover and what time of year do I plant them out.  Also. what compost do I use for potting on.

Sorry to be vague. 

Regards Chris 



  • jo4eyesjo4eyes Posts: 2,032

    They can go outside in the borders/pots now it's summer. They are hardy, but some varieties more than others. If they are still under cover then give them a couple of days of inside at night, putting outside in day until they are used to the temperature change- hardening off. Decent compost, a John Innes type 2 or 3 would be fine if keeping them outside in pots.

    Deadhead the flowers as the season goes on, & they should repeat flower until the frosts come.

    They may not come through next winter, so it's a good idea to take cuttings off them in late July/August & then overwinter those under cover ready for next year.

    Any that do come through next winter outside in borders dont need cutting back until late March/April, depending on whereabouts in UK you are, although I do tend to do mine earlier than advised & they cope- am in NWest. J.


  • Chris9Chris9 Posts: 93

    Thanks for the reply, I have not received them yet it says Aug/September and they are plug plants from this site.  So will be wee little things.




  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,806

    Then I would grow them on through the winter in pots -first outside and then in a greenhouse when the bad weather comes-they should then be good sized plants to be planting out next March/April-they can take a certain level of frost

  • Chris9Chris9 Posts: 93

    Thanks Jo and sotongeoff for the great info, will have to buy some sort of greenhouseimage

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    You can keep them under a hedge if you have one, ina garage if there is a window, or anywhere cool where they will not freeze.  failing all of that, a cheap plastic grow house will work, but make sure it is pinned down well as they blow away very easily - leaving your baby penstemons uncovered.  In fact, they are tough little plants, and if you have sheltered part of the garden, and we get some decent weather later in the year (sigh of hope!), they may well establish well enough in the ground to get through the windter, depending how much of one we get of course..  A cloche or  large plastic bottle with the lid removed and the bottom cut off to act as a cloche will protect them - especially come spring when the slugs are hungry - come to that at any time, they are always hungry!!

  • gardeningfanticgardeningfantic Posts: 1,019

    yeah and there is certainly plenty of htem about this year.. everywhere.. first time i have had to use slugh pellets in my garden.. unbelievable...

    i also have got lots of grey small catipillars on my plants with tiney black heads.. did take picture bt cant load onto my computer at mo.. have eaten everything in their path.. and also my dwarf irises have got covered in eggs small grey ones right at the bottom near soil.. will have to wait and see what they hatch into.. then start collecting them..

    I have several penstemons in the garden and up to now all have survived the winters. I take quite a few cuttings and as long as they are kept frost free for the first winter they should be ok. I have never had them eaten by slugs, even when young. They are one of the very few plants I have that they dont seem to go for.
  • weejennyweejenny Posts: 391

    They are so easy to take cuttings from by this time next year yours will be big enough plants to do this. I took some yesterday and have just put them in water in the window sill

  • Chris9Chris9 Posts: 93

    Sorry, only just got back to this thread just to say thanks for the advice not expecting these plants until the end of August so may pot them up and see how they get on.

    regards Chris 

  • hollie hockhollie hock Posts: 3,295

     I have some penstemons that I recieved as tiny plug plants from another T&M offer. They are doing really well but based on the information here I think I will grow them on and overwinter them before I plant them out. Thanks, really useful image

  • Jan58Jan58 Posts: 6

    I have still not received my penstemons from the July issue of Gardeners World, but i know some people have, tried e-mailing them but cannot get through for some reason, hopefully when i get them i will pot on and keep them in my gro-house over winter, but will place fleece on the shelfs to protect any cuttings that i have, hopefully they will arrive soon.

  • I got the 5 penstemons from the t&m offer too today in the post. They are small plugs and i have potted them up and put them in my greenhouse for the winter? How often do i need to water them over winter though and will they grow much? I watered them today and tonight one already looks like its starting to wilt and shrivel. Should i not have watered them?

  • Hello,  I got my my tiny  penstemons in may, grew them on and further to my last posts I've since planted them on in the garden. For Robert- my thinking is that should be alright to over winter in the greenhouse. I don't think that they will grow much over the winter as there is going to be  lesser light. I haven't had much experience of over wintering perinnial plants, my thinking is that they do better in the ground, But I know the plug plants you have are tiny.. For what is worth from what I've learn't on here they are not slug magnets so maybe grow them on and take a chance on planting them out by the end of Oct?


  • Ok thanks Hollie. Do you know how often i should water them? they are looking very poorly today and the tips of some leaves are wilting and going black image

  • Recieved mine a couple of weeks ago. some were so small they were hardly there. Have potted them up and i will puy them in unheated greenhouse over the winter. I had bought some previously and all are doig well. I planted them late spring after hardening them off first

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,806
    Robert Lovelock wrote (see)

    Ok thanks Hollie. Do you know how often i should water them? they are looking very poorly today and the tips of some leaves are wilting and going black image

    What size pots did you put them into-they may be too big and suffering from too much water-tip one out carefully- is the soil moist?

  • Hi Robert, that's not a good sign, I agree it's always best to pot seedlings/plants on to slightly bigger pots rather than one that is too large. I always use some polysterene at the bottom of the pots for drainage. The plants that you have are very tiny, if you have planted them in to big a pot, I would re plant them in smaller pots,cut off the leaves that are going black, ease off on the watering and fingers crossed.

  • Received plants offered at ??4.90 (postage only) for six plants of six varieties.Potted into two inch pots. After this I repotted twice more, and some of the larger plants repotted once more. I am delighted with the plants ( and so are several of my friends given some of the plants by me).

    For several weeks I kept the plants in my conservatory, but when the weather was good they were outside during the day and back inside at night.Eventually they were outside day and night and I have 32 very healthy perennial plants.(four of the plants were not good enough to pot up when I received them.)

    . Best of luck to all gardeners in their efforts to grow healthy plants.

  • 6 of my penstemons were very small and only managed to save 1 which is a disappoitment all the others growing well. Mum and i share the postage so we get half each. When plants are big enough i will take some cuttings and pass on to friends. Bargain.

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