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How To Propagate Penstemon The Best Way

If you want to know how to propagate penstemon, you can choose from four methods; cuttings, seeds, division, and layering. It is one of those flowering plants that give gardeners many options to root them. And best of all, you have 250 varieties of penstemon to choose from. 

To ensure the success of your propagation, consider starting penstemon in the greenhouse. The controlled environment will ensure seed germination and robust parent plants for other methods of rooting. Even if you have unstable conditions in your state, you can cultivate this beautiful perennial without issues by adjusting the greenhouse. 

How To Propagate Penstemon The Best Way

How To Propagate Penstemon For Beginners

 

Rooting from cuttings

If you already have an existing cultivar of penstemon, chances are you want to learn how to root from cuttings. Compared to using seeds, propagation by cuttings is more reliable if you want to get the same characteristics of a parent plant. And what’s excellent with penstemon is that you can take softwood cuttings any time during the growing season. 

However, experienced gardeners recommend taking 5-inch cuttings from late summer to early autumn. Much like propagating vinca from cuttings, you want penstemon cuttings to have no flower. Afterward, remove the lower leaves of your cutting and reduce the moisture loss by trimming the top and side leaves as well. 

To encourage growth, don’t forget to dip your cutting in rooting hormone and compost-perlite mixture. Where can you plant penstemon cuttings? The North Carolina State Extension recommends using a greenhouse for easier maintenance of the humidity that’s ideal for the cuttings. 

For penstemon, you can use modular trays or a pot to house five cuttings. You can then transfer your plants once they rooted. Again, using a greenhouse can help strengthen your rooted cuttings until they are ready for transplanting outdoors. 

 

Rooting from seeds

If you are not particular with getting your parent plant’s clones, you can propagate penstemons from seeds. It’s best to start them indoors to avoid the threat of extreme weather or temperatures. Still, remember to sow in early spring and then plant the penstemons outside come early summer. 

The drawback of propagating penstemon from seeds is that you need to know your variety or species’ specific requirements and germination conditions. For example, you may need to do a seed treatment beforehand. And when sowing seeds, be generous since penstemon plants don’t guarantee a 100% germination rate. 

Another disadvantage of propagating penstemon from seeds is that most species will require a long moist stratification period. Failure to do so will also affect germination, especially if you have northern penstemons. Overall, using a greenhouse would be your best solution to provide all your penstemon seed’s requirements and conditions more conveniently. 

 

Rooting from divisions

Much like hellebores, you can propagate penstemon by divisions. This method is another useful technique if you want to guarantee your plants’ specific characteristics from your hybrids and particular species. If you have a desired established plant, you can root by divisions to ensure that you’ll get the exact copy. 

If you have a plant that has turned woody over time, it also makes a good candidate for division. To propagate by division, you want to gently dig up the plant by loosening the soil around its base. The Penstemon digitalis is one of the easiest penstemons to divide because the crown divides into several rosettes. 

Depending on your climate, you may or may not plant the divisions immediately. This is also one reason why dividing is recommended in early spring to give the plants time to recover before the heat comes. Otherwise, it’s also safe to divide right after the plant blooms or when summer is done. 

If you’re not using a greenhouse and the conditions are harsh, make sure that you let your sections recover first. Each section should have their pot of moist soil, and then you can replant them to the ground if they didn’t wilt. 

 

Rooting from layering

The last method for propagating penstemon is from layering. This technique is relatively easier than division because all you need to do is cut the stems that spread along the ground and have rooted. You don’t have to disturb the parent plot, and you’ll still have sections for propagation.

Similar to rooting by division, you can plant the sections immediately or wait until the roots have grown enough to match the size of it. An excellent tip to help more roots spread on the stems is by removing some of the penstemon leaves and mound some soil around the stem. You can even dust it with rooting powder or pin the stem with a bent wire, so its roots better.

 

Conclusion

Penstemon or beardtongue is a beautiful plant with so many varieties to choose from. Therefore, learning how to propagate penstemon successfully is a must so you can conduct the best method for your plants. You can select from cuttings, seeds, division, and layering, depending on what is best for your variety. 

Out of the four methods, perhaps using seeds is the most technical because some penstemons have specific germination requirements. On the other hand, the remaining three are more advantageous if you want to guarantee your parent plant copy. Still, one can conclude that using a greenhouse will help propagation be successful because it allows the gardener to control the ideal environment for the growth of penstemons. 

 

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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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