How to Deadhead Penstemon

Want to know how to deadhead penstemon? Deadheading your penstemon plants is an essential task to keep your plants blooming colorful flowers throughout the growing season.

It’s easy to grow and maintain penstemons and they do well in mass planting and borders, making them the perfect plants for beginners. They thrive best under full or partially shaded sunlight. They also prefer to be planted in moist, well-draining soil.

All of these factors can make or break the growth of your plants. But even if you get everything right – water, soil, and sunlight – your penstemon plants may still grow leggy and woody if you don’t prune and deadhead them every year.

 

How to Deadhead Penstemon

How to Prune Your Penstemon Plants

Penstemons grow well in USDA zones 4 through 9. This means they’re drought-tolerant, but some hybrid plants may need to be watered frequently. Annual pruning is also a part of proper penstemon care. Gardeners mainly prune their plants so they will grow new shoots and therefore, extending the blooming season and protecting the plants from frost. Additionally, pruning is also a great way to maintain the appearance of your plants.

 

Pruning penstemons in the spring

Spring pruning is mainly for improving the growth of new shoots. Remove old stems once your plants develop new ones during the spring season. In this way, your penstemons will focus their energy on growing healthy flowers and shoots.

Before you start pruning, examine your plant to see whether the new shoots developed from the plant’s base or old stems.

 

Growth from old stems

If the shoots came from old stems, trim the stems just above the new shoots.

 

Growth from the base of the plant

In this case, you can cut back the old stems by trimming them to the soil level.

 

No new growth

If shoots didn’t form, you can cut back the entire plant as you normally should (above the lowest set of true leaves).

 

Pruning penstemons in the winter

Another reason to prune penstemons is to protect them from frost and snow. Cut back your penstemons to a few inches above the ground and cover the soil with a thick layer of mulch to retain heat. For places with mild winters, you can cut back your plants about a third once they’re done flowering. Remember to leave enough leaves to protect your plants from the cold.

 

How to Deadhead Penstemon

Many gardeners use the terms deadheading and pruning interchangeably; but while both are similar, there is a slight difference between the two: deadheading refers to the removal of spent flowers from plants. On the other hand, pruning pertains to trimming any part of the plant.

Now that you know how to prune your plants, the next step is to learn how to deadhead penstemon. Here’s how:

There are two ways your penstemons can benefit from deadheading: it promotes the growth of new shoots and more flowers and it prevents seed formation in unwanted areas in your garden. Cut underneath the set of healthy leaves located below the flowers. If you want seeds, you can leave a few flower stalks on your penstemon.

 

How to Propagate Penstemon

You can propagate penstemon through stem cuttings, root division, or seeds. The best time to start sed propagation is when the last scare of frost has passed and the soil is warmer. If you want your flowers to bloom early, you can also start your seed indoors. Just make sure to plant them in well-draining soil, mist them, and cover your plants loosely.

On the other hand, the best time to propagate via stem cuttings is during summer or fall. Cut nonflowering stem tips underneath the leaf nodes. Remove the tips and the set of leaves at the bottom. Dip the bottom of the stem in rooting powder before you plant them in a pot filled with a combination with compost and perlite.

Another way to propagate penstemon is through root division. You divide the roots to produce separate plants. You’ll need to carefully dig out your plant every two to three years to get roots.

 

Taking care of propagated penstemon

Keep your stem cuttings in a shaded area with good ventilation. Be sure to place your plants indoors during colder seasons. Once your penstemons grow new leaves, you can transplant them into your garden or to a larger pot. Place them in an area with partial or full sun. Don’t overwater your plants to prevent the roots from rotting. Lastly, add balanced fertilizer every year during the spring season.

 

Why Grow Your Penstemons in a Mini Greenhouse?

There are several reasons why you should try growing your penstemons in a mini greenhouse. For one, you can protect them from pests that like to munch on your flowers and leaves, such as aphids, thrips, and caterpillars. They’re also vulnerable to root rot, rust, and powdery mildew. Growing them in an enclosed space reduces the risk of damaging your plants.

Mini greenhouses are also useful in protecting tender perennials from bad weather. Placing them inside protects them from ice, snow, frost, heavy rains, and high winds. They can stay healthy inside a mini greenhouse until you can replant them outside when the weather warms.

 

Final Thoughts on How to Deadhead Penstemon

Penstemons are easy to grow and cultivate since they don’t need much attention and maintenance. As long as you know the basics and how to deadhead penstemon, you’re good to go. Penstemons are a great choice for colorful blooms during spring.

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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