Penstoemen and Lobelia Cardinalis?

ladyrose65April 7, 2014

This is my first successful WSing of these. Should I pinch the middle out to spur growth or leave them alone? What is your experience with them? How to care for them?

Penstoemen is Husker's Red, Iron Maiden and Rhondo Mix.
Lobelia Cardinalis.

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gardenweed_z6a

I have both Penstemon 'Husker Red' & 'Mystica' in my garden beds and love both, as do the bees. Both were grown from seed via winter sowing and have thrived since I planted them out (in 2010).

I don't pinch or prune my plants--in my experience they're entirely care- and worry-free. I'm particularly impressed with the fact the foliage of P. 'Mystica' not only came through this horrid winter but did so with both its color and form undamaged.

As for how to care for them, if you have healthy soil, they should prove virtually carefree. I've never done more than prune the seedheads in late fall & collect the seeds. If you're a stickler for appearances, the stems could be cut back I suppose. I just leave them standing through the cold months and cut them down during Spring clean-up.

Where I am Lobelia cardinalis dies back completely in the fall and disappears until it shows itself again the following growing season. After several years in my garden beds, I can honestly report it has needed zero attention or care from me and has not been bothered by any predators, vermin or insects.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:11PM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Have grown many penstemons and numbers of perennial lobelias.

P. digitalis 'Huskers Red' is one of the few penstemons which lasts more than three years here. Have some 'Huskers Red' growing for up to ten years.

None of the probably several dozens of Lobelia cardinalis (planted the species and two cultivars) lasted more than three or four years. In striking contrast, L. siphilitica has been allowed to last in our garden for years, largely through reseeding.

Below a more recent planting, P. digitalis 'Dark Towers'.
(June 30, 2013)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:52AM
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daisyincrete Z10? 905feet/275 metres

I must try and get hold of a Huskers Red. Most penstemons don't seem to have a long life here. Although they are so quick and easy from cuttings, I shouldn't complain.
It is too hot and dry for Lobelia cardinalis in my garden, but I cheat by putting them in the pond. They have been submerged in the pond for four years now and are completely happy.
However, my little pond never freezes. I don't think they would survive being frozen.
I have never bothered pinching back any of them.
Daisy

This post was edited by daisyincrete on Tue, Apr 8, 14 at 13:18

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:16PM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Very pretty view, Daisyincrete.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 2:34PM
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ladyrose65

I would like to Thank You All, Gardenweed, SunnyBorders and Daisincrete for the advise. The plants seem to be at a standstill, but that could be from it still being cold outside. I was thinking of pinching out the middle to spur growth. I'll leave them, since I am most excited they have made it thru winter.

Sincerely,
Avis

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 2:11AM
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