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Ice-cream Penstemons - 'Melting Candy'

yarrow2yarrow2 Posts: 782

Appeal for help from anyone who knows these Penstemon.  Bought 2 in pots in May when they were about 6" high and planted the same day.

I bought them because I was dazzled by the photograph of the flowering plant on the pot label and because I had read they had proved to be prolific flowerers, strong growers and hardy in all weather conditions.  Mm!

Well, here they are now 2 months on and they still cannot support themselves.  Each one had three stems when bought but whilst they have grown just over a foot tall, they can't stand on their own and the stems are still soft.  Now one is producing buds but I'm sure the stems will not be able to support them.

I was thinking of pulling them up and replanting them somewhere else - but don't want to lose them if there's anything I can do to tough them up to become self-supporting. 

HELP anyone?  Should they be as floppy as this and have I not done something I should have to get them to firm up?






  • greenjudegreenjude Posts: 64

    Some species and varieties do flop naturally. They are hardy and slugs leave them alone on the whole. It's late in the year now, but next year try the Chelsea chop - cut them back by one third to a half in late May. They'll flower a bit later but the stems will be shorter, stiffer and less inclined to flop. I do this every year with Penstemon barbatus and some other plants and it works well.

    Your plants look healthy. Are they in good light? They'll take some shade but it'll make them leggier.

    If you want to move them now, make sure you water them well before you lift them and take a good rootball. Replant as soon as possible and water if it's very dry (fat chance!).

  • yarrow2yarrow2 Posts: 782

    greenjude:  Thanks for taking the time to reply and giving some advice. They're in very light shade but have good light for three quarters of the day.  I'm glad you've said they look healthy - the floppiness concerned me.  I'll leave them and see how they come along.  Your response has given me a little more confidence to just let them be for this year and see what happens. 

    You're right with the 'fat chance' - although today here in Edinburgh we've had a great day - very warm and sun all day.  No doubt things will revert to normal over the next few days!

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