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Home » Growing Guide » Penstemon Growing Guide

Penstemon Growing Guide

Header Penstemon - Garden Express Australia

What is Penstemon?

Penstemon (Penstemon spp.) is a group of herbaceous and woody perennials that range from dwarf ground covers to tall shrubs. They are part of the family Scrophulariaceae and are native to North America. Penstemon foliage is simple linear to lance-shaped leaves that grow in opposite pairs along the stem. Depending on the variety they usually form a tidy mound of mid green foliage.  They have a long flowering cycle and will usually flower from late Spring or early Summer until Autumn. The flowers are tubular which are held aloft on very tall spikes in a range of colours. The colours range from red, pink, crimson, purple or lavender, sometimes with white centers. They prefer to be positioned in full sun that has well drained soil. Penstemon are frost hardy and drought tolerant when established

Benefits of Growing Penstemon

Penstemon are low maintenance plants that provide a long display of colour in the garden. They are suitable for border planting, rock gardens, woodland gardens, and a must for any cottage garden. The flowers are loved by bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. Penstemon are drought tolerant once established.

How to Grow Penstemon

Penstemon Pentastic Rose Pplpenpro - Garden Express Australia

Penstemon Pentastic Rose

Climatic Zones

Cool to mild tropical.

Plant Size

Sizes vary.

When To Plant Penstemon

Plant in Spring to Autumn.

Soil Preparation

They like well drained but moist soils. Added organic matter like compost or well broken down manure before planting. 

How To Plant Penstemon

Plant in full sun to part shade however will flower best when planted in full sun. Plant with the plant crown at soil level. The planting distance will vary between varieties.

Penstemon Plant Care

Regular watering is needed while plant establishes. Watering the plant during dry periods is essential. Allow the soil to dry out before re-watering.

Place a layer of mulch around the plant annually to prevent weeds and retain soil moisture.

Feed with a complete fertiliser each Spring.

Cut back in Winter to about 1/3 of their height to keep the plants in shape and compact. Deadhead regularly to encourage more blooms.

Recommended Penstemon Varieties

Penstemon are a popular cottage garden plant with long lasting blooms and the ability to attract beneficial insects into the garden.

Penstemon Arabesque Red Lpopenare - Garden Express Australia

Penstemon Arabesque Red

Penstemon Hidcote Pink 15 14242473pa - Garden Express Australia

Penstemon Hidcote Pink

Penstemon Sour Grapes 15 14234999pa - Garden Express Australia

Penstemon Sour Grapes