Author Topic: evergreen? penstemons  (Read 6287 times)

aquilegia

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evergreen? penstemons
« on: January 27, 2004, 16:55:18 »
My penstemons are still growing, covered in leaves and some even have flowers on them.

Is that normal? I thought they were supposed to be slightly tender. Mum gave me them as cuttings and thought they might not survive the winter.

They are against an east-ish facing wall, but don't get much sun in the winter (my garden is smaller than the long winter shadows cast by the fence!) and it's in greater London.

But still, I'd have expected them to die back at least a little!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »
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evergreen? penstemons
« on: January 27, 2004, 16:55:18 »

The gardener

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Re: evergreen? penstemons
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2004, 18:10:50 »
This is pretty normal.

But saying that..........if the weather men have got there sums right  I just wonder how hardy they are, and will they tolerate the temperatures that have been forecast?

My ones  have stood it the last few years and I am 900 ft above sea level here in the Pennines, so I think yours will stand a better chance than mine.

It is normal to leave the tops on over the winter as these protect the young growth that might now be emerging.

Pretty soon the will want last years growth cutting to the floor.

Theres a bit more information on them in my website.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:01 by -1 »


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Muddy_Boots

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Re: evergreen? penstemons
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2004, 18:34:42 »
Hi Aqui,

Down here in East Kent, found that all my penstemons survived the winters, even through hard frost.  As the gardener says, I did not cut them down before winter, more by luck than judgement, as they just kept on flowering!

Tended to tidy up around March time.  I am just amazed at how many different kinds there are.  Definitely one of my favourite flowers!

Good luck but, as you are in London, you may well find it similar to down here.

Kate
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »
Muddy Boots

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Re: evergreen? penstemons
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2004, 22:09:49 »
I'm in  london and mine usually survive the winter; however mine have a tendency to get very woody very quickly so take lots of cuttings to maintain a supply.  
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »
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Debs

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Re: evergreen? penstemons
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2004, 22:39:03 »
Funny that, because mine in my garden are still green and healthy.. and I'm in the north-east !!

They're easy to grow frm seed- that's how I raised mine.

Debs
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

Mimi

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Re: evergreen? penstemons
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2004, 23:10:39 »
Hi aquiligia, I dont have any penstamons in my garden but was in Port Meirion on Sunday and they had loads there all in flower, and a beautiful sight they where too. :)
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »
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Muddy_Boots

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Re: evergreen? penstemons
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2004, 11:51:31 »
Wow, Mimi, taken me right back in time.  Remember visiting Port Merion loads of times when we used to spend all our summers in Merioneth, as it was then!

;D

Kate
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »
Muddy Boots

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Re: evergreen? penstemons
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2004, 14:05:44 »
It used to be that penstemons were considered tender and vunerable to hard frost. These days though they are considered more hardy, though a realy hard winter might kill a few off.

The main threat it seems is  winter wet not cold or a combination of wet and cold.

In the south we dont often get trully hard frosts (as a rule), though they always SEEM bad. And of course in a really sheltered garden site, well drained and in full sun, they are often OK even in the north.  

Even if a frost does get them the topgrowth tends to absorb the damage leaving the crown protected. This is why the advice not to cut down old stems untill spring.

Often though ina mild weather they will not only live but stat evergreen and may even flower into the winter.  Mine have done just that this winter.

It is always prudent to take a few cuttings though, if only as an insurance policy. If the parent plant then survives, you will have more plants for a better display, give to friends or to replace old plants, since they do not go in forever and seem to flower better when young.  

Older plants can also become affected by a microscopic eelworm, which eventualy kills them. Ilot my original penstemon plants to this last year. Not a problem of course as I had plenty of replacements.

As you can guess, they are amoung my favorite plants

« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:01 by -1 »

john_miller

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Re: evergreen? penstemons
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2004, 03:57:59 »
Penstemons have always been considered hardy if you had the right species. For instance, the award winning Penstemon digitalis 'Huskers Red' was bred in Nebraska, USA where it is reliably hardy, even though they regularly experience temperatures below -30C with little snow cover. Perhaps aquilegias Mum happened to have bought one of these cold hardy species.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

aquilegia

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Re: evergreen? penstemons
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2004, 11:21:43 »
Thanks all. It's reasuring to know I did something right in not bothering to cut them back. One of them had masses of flowers on it until the past couple of weeks, so I couldn't bear to cut it back! Yesterday, through the snow, it still had one lonely flower clinging on!

I did know what variety they are - mum labelled them for me - but I of course didn't keep the labels when I planted them. I remember one was Maurice Gibb (only remembered that one as it made me laugh!) and another was Firebird. THere are two others. They all have fairly small flowers and I read yesterday that normally the smaller flowered ones are more hardy.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:01 by -1 »
gone to pot :D

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Re: evergreen? penstemons
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2004, 20:17:26 »
I think its leaves not flowers, aquilegia. The smaller the leaves the more hardy the plants are. As i recall anyway. :-/
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 by 1077926400 »

 

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