Penstemon is a perennial shrub that belongs to the Norichnikov family. The plant is most commonly found in North and Central America. The distribution area also includes the Far East and East Asia. On the territory of Russia, this plant is not widespread.
The bright inflorescences of penstemon are very sophisticated. They consist of small bells and have a delicate scent. An ornamental plant planted in a flower bed or summer cottage can become a charming decoration. With the onset of spring, it covers the earth with a bright carpet, which is replete with a variety of shades.
Perennial has a rod-type root system. The bush consists of 1-4 erect stems, which grow from 20 to 120 cm. The ribbed surface of the rounded shoots has a juicy green or dark brown color. Shiny, elongated leaves with a pointed edge are oppositely arranged. They are collected in a root rosette and do not have petioles.
Penstemon begins to bloom in May. Until the end of June, oblong panicles of future inflorescences with tubular corollas appear on the stems. Petals of small flowers have a characteristic slightly forked shape. Several thin stamens and ovaries peep out from the center of the oblong calyx 1.5-2.5 cm long. One or more shades are typical for each bud. The color of the petals can be very diverse: burgundy, scarlet, blue, lilac, lilac, beige, yellow or white. Zev is lighter in color.
The pollinated flower, after ripening, forms a polyspermous capsule, in the middle of which there are small, ribbed seeds. They are covered with a tough brown skin. 1 g of seed can contain approximately 10,000 units. They are able to maintain their germination for a couple of years.
To grow penstemon, you can use the vegetative method or sow seeds. An unpretentious flower develops equally well in both cases.
In February, the seeds are germinated. They are laid out in containers with sandy-peat soil, if necessary, covered with a small amount of sand and left in a well-lit, heated room. The air temperature must be at least + 18 ° С. The soil is constantly moistened with a spray bottle so that only the top layer remains slightly wet. On the tenth or fourteenth day, the first shoots may appear. When at least two formed leaves open on the stem, the seedling can be dived and planted in a separate peat pot. It can be transplanted into open soil in May.
In areas with warm climatic conditions, seeds are sown directly on the selected site. For this, November is suitable. Thus, the shrub has time to grow and bloom before spring at an earlier date than seeds grown in spring.
SEEM PENSTEMON perennial and annual PART 1
If the plant becomes too sprawling and dense, it is stratified into several lobes for separate planting. In the spring, you need to dig up the entire bush, clean it, if possible, from clods of earth and manually separate the shoots. It is recommended to plant each part of the plant in a new place with a distance of 35 cm from each other.
The period from May to August is a favorable time for grafting. At the same time, young shoots that do not have buds are cut from the upper part of the stems and planted on moist soil. Each seedling needs to be sprayed with water, wrapped in foil and left in a shaded place.
An equally effective way is to propagate penstemon using layering. At the beginning of spring, small depressions are made in the soil and shoots are placed there. After a few weeks, you need to check the layering. If they have a root system, then the plant is separated from the adult plant and planted.
Despite the unpretentiousness of the penstemon in care, it is advisable to prepare optimal conditions for it. Then the bush will be lush and blooming.
For planting penstemon, it is advisable to find a sunny lawn where there are no strong winds. The soil should be soft and loose. It is important to ensure good drainage and to choose acidic soil. Before planting a shrub, you need to intensively dig up the ground at the chosen place and fertilize it with manure and, if the soil is heavy, then add sand, wood shavings or pebbles.
In order for the earth to be sufficiently saturated with oxygen, it is recommended to regularly loosen it. It is important to protect the bushes from excessive moisture or accumulation of water in the bush hole. At the end of autumn, penstemons are thoroughly covered with regularly clearing snow from the soil around the stems so that it melts during thawing.
The plant needs regular soil moisture. In the warm season, watering should be done every other day and controlled so that the earth has time to dry out.
For the soil to be fertile, it needs to be fed with organic fertilizers. Top dressing should be applied every four months. When the time of flowering approaches, it is necessary to fertilize the soil with phosphorus-containing solutions of high concentration.
The shrub needs to be pruned from time to time. When the plant fades, you need to rid the stems of wilted flowers, remove the remnants of dry leaves. In the autumn, it is necessary to carry out a cardinal pruning. At the same time, they get rid of almost all shoots. Only the root rosette can be retained. After three to five years, the shoots are stretched and exposed. The flowers are getting smaller. The bush loses its attractiveness. In this case, it must be replaced with new cuttings and seedlings.
With the onset of cold weather, the bushes are hidden under fallen leaves. On top, you can put spruce branches in a layer of 15 cm. At the same time, you need to control the degree of soil moisture. For penstemone, getting wet is more dangerous, freezing.
Perennial compares favorably with other plants in that it has a high resistance to the effects of pathogenic bacteria and fungi. If the plant still gets sick, and its top begins to dry, gardeners recommend getting rid of the affected areas in a timely manner. But, as a rule, penstemon is not dangerous for parasites and insects, so there is no need to use insecticides.
This genus of shrubs is very diverse and is represented by about 250 varieties. At the moment, it is rarely used by domestic gardeners, so agricultural firms offer a rather limited range of penstemon seeds.
The height of the smooth erect stems of the shrub reaches 70-90 cm. On strong, branched shoots of rich green color, several opposite lanceolate leaves of an elongated shape grow. In early June, oblong inflorescences about 30 cm long and 2.5 cm in diameter are formed on the stems. The opened buds with delicate pink and bright red petals continue to bloom for one month. The following varieties are most popular:
A short shrub reaches a length of no more than 25 cm, at the base of which there is a rosette with long leaves rounded at the ends. Short tubular buds bloom on greenish stems. The flowering process lasts from May to June, when the shrub is decorated with blue and purple bells. This type of penstemon tolerates a significant drop in temperature.
Plant height with long branched stems ranges from 60 cm to 1.2 m. The root rosette remains viable all year round. Beige and pink bells bloom on the tops of the shoots from June. Decorative varieties include:
This species of perennial frost does not harm.
The plant reproduces actively, forming lush bushes with bright flowers. Due to its attractive appearance, Penstemon fits perfectly into the design of various flower beds and lawns. The main thing is to carefully choose flowers that will grow nearby, since penstemon is an aggressive plant. Penstemon bouquets are very delicate but cannot last long.
It is surprising that Penstemon is very little known in our country.
Of course, he does not have a bright appearance, but many plants look great next to him and become boring and uninteresting if he leaves. And he can leave because of his characteristics, which must be taken into account.
Botanists know an incredible number of species and varieties of this plant.
These are both annual and perennial species, which in our climatic conditions are grown as annuals, and, of course, the most valuable for us - perennial, frost-resistant, suitable for gardens in central Russia. We will talk about them. These are alpine penstemon (Penstemon alplnus), bearded penstemon (Penstemon barbalus), bell penstemon (Penstemon campanulatus) and foxglove penstemon (Penstemon digitalis).
Penstemon Alpine has the appearance of a dense pillow, yellowish-lilac flowers with a white throat are collected and umbrella-shaped inflorescences. Penstemon bearded, penstemon bell-shaped and penstemon foxglove - plants with vertical shoots 60-90 cm high.
Their stem is straight, strong, does not require support. As a rule, the flowers are either tubular or look like small bells. Their color in the bearded penstemon can be in pink or red tones, in the bell-shaped and in the penstemon foxglove - in pink and lilac.
I do not cover the plant for the winter, but there is an opinion that a light shelter from moisture is desirable.
It is easy to propagate it - by seeds, cuttings and dividing the bush. The shops have a great variety of seeds of different types of penstemone. When buying them, pay attention to the type of plant. Annuals are often mistaken for perennials, and our unlucky gardeners are surprised why their pet did not appear from the ground in the second year. If you follow the path of seed reproduction, sow the seeds in March, and in June plant the seedlings in a permanent place in an open
soil at a distance of 30 - 40 cm from each other. Perennial species propagated in this way bloom only in the second year. Therefore, I prefer to cut the plant in June - July or divide the clump in the spring.
And one more feature of the penstemon you need to know. Although this plant is considered perennial, in fact it is a minor. His life span is three to four years. Therefore, take care of the renewal of culture in advance in one of the above ways.
Every garden has a worthy place for a penstemon. In one of my compositions, he was in the company of a milky-flowered bell 'Loddon Anna'. The effect is achieved due to the extraordinary similarity of the two plants - in color, flower shape, curtain size. The white astilbe planted nearby, as it were, fanning them with its fluffy panicles, as if with a fan, protecting them from the summer heat. In the middle ground there are two bushes of the Angel Wings miniature rose, which I love very much for its long, abundant flowering and romantic appearance.
If you have created a composition predominantly of rounded plants such as hosta and low daylily, then you can use penstemone other than alpine penstemon to create a vertical. The choice of plant depends on the color scheme you have conceived. For reds, purples, pinks, look for bearded penstemone varieties, such as Pretty Petticoat, with its bright purple-white flowers, which blooms from mid to late summer, or Evelyn foxglove penstemone, with its bright pink small flowers.
It should be noted that English biologists have worked hard and created many varieties with large, spectacular flowers, but, unfortunately, they do not winter in the conditions of central Russia, and they can only be used as annuals.
When placing penstemons in compositions, remember that they need room to grow and develop. Feel free to combine them with lilies, roses, sage, bells, astilba. Try, fantasize, observe, and your life will acquire new colors and sparkle with all the colors of the rainbow. Well, penstemon, just like other plants on our list of lazy growers, will help you with this.
Growing a penstemon from seeds is time consuming, but you will love the result. For good germination, planting material is kept for at least 30 days in a cool place. This can be a balcony or a shelf in the refrigerator for vegetables. Seeds are usually sown early enough; they are usually not soaked before planting. Experienced summer residents will tell you when to plant a plant - in the last decade of February or early spring. Seedlings are obtained from the seeds, which are later planted in open ground.
The soil is prepared lightweight: a mixture of soil, peat and sand. Be sure to use drainage, for example, expanded clay or gravel. The root system of penstemon is very fond of air exchange. It is necessary to sow correctly as follows: the soil is moistened, the planting material is pressed into the soil, a thin 2-3 mm layer of sand is poured on top. To insulate penstemon, glass is placed on top of the container or covered with foil. This creates comfortable temperature conditions and good humidity.
Plants will sprout in 1-2 weeks. The container with them needs to be ventilated more often, taken out to the veranda or balcony. Seedlings are best grown at a temperature of 15 degrees. As for vegetable crops, it is better to dive the plants by transplanting them into plastic disposable cups. They should be filled with soil mixture with peat in the phase of 2-3 leaves, that is, early enough. At the end of spring, the seedlings are planted in open ground, in the summer you will get a bright original penstemon bloom.
Seedlings are planted sparsely, remember this, because the adult flower is quite large. Try to maintain a 0.3 meter spacing.
You can feed young roses and those that have been on your site for several years with the help of root and foliar dressings. The bulk of the nutrients is introduced, of course, before the start of the growing season at the root. Top dressing on a leaf is a supplement with roots, but they cannot completely replace them. With their help, roses quickly absorb the necessary elements, while the composition of the soil does not change. So you can apply both organic matter and mineral fertilizers. They can be carried out throughout the season and better in the evening.
Do not forget that fertilizers are applied only to moist soil, otherwise the roots of the plants can be burned.
To obtain early flowering, penstemon must be grown through seedlings. Its seeds are small, irregular in shape.
At the end of February, we sowed part of the available penstemon seeds in a box at home, covering it with a film to preserve soil moisture.Sowing is shallow as penstemon seeds need light to germinate. Shoots appeared in 10-12 days. When the seedlings developed real leaves, they cut them down.
The second part of the penstemon seeds was sown in a greenhouse (in the third decade of April) together with the seeds of annuals. Penstemon seedlings in the greenhouse have grown quite well, and they almost caught up with the "indoor" one. True, greenhouse plants bloomed two weeks later than home seedlings.
Penstemon seedlings were planted in the ground at the end of May, at a distance of 30 cm from each other.
Penstemon is propagated not only by seeds, but also vegetatively - by dividing the bush, by cuttings.
The division of successfully overwintered penstemon bushes is carried out in the spring.
Penstemon cuttings are carried out both in the spring (the root cuttings are separated and rooted), and during the summer (the stem cuttings are cut and rooted).
Penstemon foxglove varieties Husker red I first saw it in Queen Maxima Park in Holland, in the famous "butterfly garden", designed by Pete Udolph. The plant looked very festive: slender chocolate-cherry stems and leaves with the same ebb, large inflorescences of white-cream bells with a delicate pink blush. A delightful sight!
Soon I managed to get a de-lenka Husker Red and shelter an unusual flower in my garden. In the first summer, the bush bloomed and remained decorative for a long time after flowering. But the main advantage of this penstemon is that it is highly frost-resistant among its fellows. This is very important for our area of risky farming.
I never stop admiring the plant. There will be an opportunity - get this in your garden!
Prefers sunny locations. In insufficient light, the bush falls apart, blooms worse.
The soil should be rich, light, well-drained. Penstemone develops well on acidic or slightly acidic. A variant of the mixture for planting: sand, garden soil, compost, lowland and high moor (sour) peat — 1: 1: 2: 2.
For the winter, I additionally mulch my plants with peat, and then cover them with a double layer of spunbond with a density of 60. You can use spruce branches.
The first spring top dressing - with urea (urea) in summer, before and after flowering - with a complex mineral fertilizer at the end of August - Fertika. Autumn "(everything is strictly according to the instructions).
After 2-3 years, in the spring, it is advisable to divide the overgrown bushes and transplant to a new place with fertile soil.