Planting propagated Penstemon cuttings

Published: September 1, 2020

Posted on 01.09.2020 |
Added in Kevin’s Propagation/Plant Focus Blog/Healing Gardens

Planting propagated Penstemon cuttings

It’s just one of those personal targets! to get a task done in my last week at Hipping Hall before I start my new gardening position in early September.

The Penstemons have rooted from cuttings taken  in November and December of last year ( Also see Kevin’s other blog on propagating Penstemons) 

My experience at plant propagation over  the years through research, learning from others, and my own hands on experience,  indicates certain plant material – woody, green, semi ripe, of many differing plant species produce higher or lower rooting potential depending on plant species, and  the time of year the cuttings are taken.

penstemon 5 1 rotated



The image of the root structure signifies a good root initiation over the period of  approximately 8 months. These Penstemon were over wintered in the cool glasshouse and  positioned outside in early March. Ideally I would have planted these sooner but due to my position at Hipping Hall being Furloughed for nearly 14 weeks I was unable to do this. I selected an ideal space at the front of the large mixed perennial/shrub border in which to introduce the plants.

Planting the Penstemon now will still allow for a good two months flowering, with the addition of the sturdy root systems settling in the soil for the  autumn/ winter period, that starts now. We are working at two months ahead for continued flowering, and a four month period to allow the roots to still work within the particles of the soil before the soil temperature drops too much.

Timing is critical in order to get a head start for the next growing season. I have found that Penstemons adapt very well to this timed approach. These propagated plants will only require a lighter pruning  next spring in order to produce a surge of new growth. This is because they are not established plants and so in terms of their existing morphology, that will need a full seasons growing to produce a good formation  of lateral growths which these plants are renowned for.


The inflorescence  of the flowers is absolutely outstanding, Penstemon are a personal favourite of mine. You can clearly see from the images of the morphology of the flowers, the Filaments and Anthers. I think the striking colour combinations of some of the cultivars are absolutely outstanding.

penstemon 3 3
penstemon 4 45
penstemon 1 91
penstemon 2 29

My new Horticultural Plantspersons position will involve working with plants introduced within the Georgian period, and certainly with a focus from the last twenty years of that era linking in with the Victorian era. Penstemons were introduced in 1870, so at a push, I might just bend to introducing these wonders into the scheme of the planting recreation / development