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FutureStarrHow to Care for Beardtongue Plant
The plantain family (Plantaginaceae) gifts us with some wonderful ornamental flowering plants, including snapdragons, foxglove, and the valuable Penstemon genus, which contains more than 250 beardtongue species ready to grow in your garden. Penstemon plants are herbaceous perennials that feature lance-shaped foliage and spikes of tubular flowers. Flower colors include pink, red, white, purple, and (rarely) yellow. The nickname of bearded tongue refers to the pollen-free stamen that protrudes from the flower, resembling a bearded iris in this aspect. This perennial is easy to grow from seeds planted in spring to early summer. It's somewhat slow to start and needs 10 to 21 days to germinate.
Beardtongue plants typically bloom in early summer, filling that gap between the end of spring bulbs and the maturing of summer flowers like coneflowers, yarrow, and coreopsis. Most penstemons are 1 to 3 feet tall, but Palmer’s penstemon can grow up to 6 feet, giving you options for the middle and back of the border. Keep the penstemon flowerbed weeded regularly. A 3-inch layer of organic mulch can help to control weeds, and rock mulch is also a suitable choice. You can cut the spent flower stems back after blooming to help plants look tidy. Penstemons don’t compete well with other plants, so give them plenty of space in the garden. Penstemons are easy to start from seed, which is just as well, as many of the species are short-lived perennials. Seeds may germinate better after a period of aging, mimicking their conditions in the wild, so you can store seed for several years before planting. If you sow the seeds in the garden, do so in autumn, to allow a natural stratification period. Alternatively, you can stratify the seeds in the refrigerator for three months if you plan to start them indoors. If you purchase penstemon seeds, be sure to check the growing zone, as tender varieties like the ‘Tubular Bells’ series are often sold alongside the hardy perennial types.
Don’t know what I did wrong but I do have a brown thumb and nothing ever grows for me, so my reputation is again intact! I removed the plants from the buckets, broke the root ball by separating the roots from the compacted soil. Planted them in the ground, watered with Miracle Grow. They get watered 3 to 4 times a week with the yard watering, but each has its individual spout and I checked to be sure that station is working.To look after Beard tongue and other Penstemon plants it is best to water regularly and dead head the flowers once they have finished blooming. Once the season has finished in the autumn cut the plants down to the ground; it is a good idea to mulch the ground that Penstemon grow in at the same time. If you require more plants for your garden they can be propagated by taking stem cuttings; this can be done in either spring or autumn. (Source: www.gardenershq.com)