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Why my Penstemon isn't Flowering?

pinkskyinthecitypinkskyinthecity Nottinghamshire, England Posts: 70
It has grown with lush foilage at up to 4' tall but no flower buds. It appears that I may have too rich a soil for it (as discussed with a recent issue with another plant query on here). I think it's a 'Burgundy' and has been growing in my flower bed for at least 5 years. I did have 'Sour Grapes' flowering earlier in the season so I'm a bit confused why the 'Burgundy' hasn't flowered. It has thrived a great deal compared to last year's growth. 

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  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 9,738
    They are happy in a rich soil, so it won't be that.
    Do you chop them back in Spring?
    Southern trees bear a strange fruit
    Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
  • pinkskyinthecitypinkskyinthecity Nottinghamshire, England Posts: 70
    They get cut down in I winter after flowering usually.
  • I have the same problem!
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 18,470
    Wait until the new growth shows in the spring then cut right back. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 2,923
    The advice I read the other day was to cut back by about a third now and a further third in Spring - not that I’ve done mine yet.
  • BijdezeeBijdezee BPosts: 1,484
    I always leave mine all winter then cut them back to the new growth at the bottom in April. It seems to work. 
    OP - I wonder if cutting them back in autumn is a bit early and maki g them put out more vegetative growth instead of flowering? Just a thought. 


  • pinkskyinthecitypinkskyinthecity Nottinghamshire, England Posts: 70
    Still doesn't solve the problem of why they're not flowering, though. It's too late for them now that snow/low temps have arrived. 
  • Maybe they are happy in rich soil as punkdoc has said but I have often heard that some plants flower better when they are some way under pressure. My oldest penstemon is now in a big clump over 4foot wide and also about 4feet tall but when I dug out a big section of it to try control its size and propagate some for elsewhere in the garden in early spring I filled up the area I had dug out of the original clump with a wheelbarrow full of horse manure. The original clump has grown great this year and is possibly even bigger now than it was when I divided it in spring but the flowering has not been as good as in other years. I think this could be down to the extra nutrient in the horse manure favouring leaf growth more than flowers but the penstemon varieties can come from different types of habitat so I'd expect the response to this factor would depend on the specific variety.


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