How To Grow Penstemon From Seed

If you want to know how to grow penstemon from seed, you can simplify the process into three steps. The procedure itself is not complicated, but it would help to have some knowledge of starting plants. More so, growing penstemon from seed would be more comfortable in the greenhouse to guarantee germination. 

Speaking of germination, one of the best things about the perennial penstemon is that it is relatively easy to grow from seeds compared to other plants. Let’s say you don’t want to do stratification or a pre-germination treatment before sowing. You can choose penstemon species that will germinate without this process, but you can always use the greenhouse to break the seed dormancy if you have no choice. 

 

Learn How To Grow Penstemon From Seed In 3 Steps

 

Step #1. Seed collection

Penstemon seeds mature in fall, and you can collect the seeds yourself for planting. If you don’t have a penstemon in the garden, you can also collect in the wild, but make sure to check your federal and state regulations when doing so. If you want, you can also get your seeds from the American Penstemon Society

Most gardeners also recommend storing penstemon seeds for six months to one year before you use them. Remember that a 100% germination rate is not easy to achieve with seeds, so it’s better to store them for a while before sowing. You can use paper envelopes and place them in a cool, dry place until use. 

 

Step #2. Pre-germination treatments

As mentioned earlier, some penstemon species require pre-germination treatment such as aging, stratification, chemicals, scarification, and changes in conditions of light and temperatures. The techniques you’ll do may change as the years pass, depending on which you notice would be the most effective. But more than these treatments, the key to success in growing penstemon from seeds meant sowing a high number of seeds. 

To give you a general idea of pre-germination procedures, you can stratify the seeds. One technique that’s useful for northern penstemon species is growing the seed at above freezing temperatures in a moist medium. Another example is sowing the seeds in a lightly covered pot of moist perlite and vermiculite outdoors in winter, or in a sandwich bag in the refrigerator. 

The seed germination itself can happen in months or years, and the environment’s conditions play a role in how soon it starts. Either way, don’t forget to transfer the seeds in a warm location and receive light once germination occurs. You can use the greenhouse to maintain the temperatures from 40 to 60°F to encourage the young penstemons to grow.  

Another method to encourage seed germination is by scarification or removing the seed coat. By doing so, you can break the dormancy of the seeds. Cutting or causing an abrasion on the seed coat is especially useful for some penstemon species, such as the Penstemon haydenii. 

 

Step #3. Planting

How does one plant a penstemon seed? You can plant penstemon seeds directly in the ground by scattering them in the fall, and the ideal location should have shade but still receives rain and snow. Similar to planting other plant seeds, make sure to prepare the ground first by loosening it. 

When you scatter the seeds, they should have enough space among them to anticipate their growth. Once you have them thinly on top, you can use potting soil or coarse sand to cover them lightly. The beauty with penstemon seeds is that they don’t require other tedious practices, and they should sprout well by spring. 

You can then gauge if you can transplant them by the middle of the season. However, make sure that you mist the medium well or provide supplemental irrigation as you’re waiting for the leaves to emerge. Once the seeds grow two pairs of true leaves, you can replant them in separate containers with fertilizer. 

The greenhouse can still accommodate these penstemon plants, but remember to gradually expose them to outdoor challenges if you’re planning on having them outside. This means hardening them against wind, sun, and dryness, in addition to having protection for the first week outdoors. Nonetheless, take comfort in the fact that penstemon is resistant to heat, drought, and animals

 

 

Conclusion

Whether you collected them yourself or purchased them, you should be excited to root penstemon seeds. It can be overwhelming to learn how to grow penstemon from seed, especially when some species require pre-germination treatments. However, the process of growing the plant itself only takes three steps, and you can consider the pre-germination treatments as an added gardener skill.

Start by collecting the seeds and store it for six months before you begin sowing. And while not all species require a pre-germination treatment, both stratification and scarification are reasonably easy methods to do anyway. You can then plant the penstemon where it receives rain and snow and has shade for sunlight. 

They should grow by spring and be ready to transplant in the permanent areas by the middle of the season. Overall, growing crops from seeds can be daunting, but don’t get discouraged by the methods for breaking dormancy in some seeds. You can also use the greenhouse to make the germination easier and faster by providing the optimal conditions. 

 

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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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