Knowing When to Plant Penstemon and How to Grow it

Wondering when to plant penstemon? Penstemon, also called penstemon beardtongue, is a plant that produces beautiful tubular flowers. This flowering plant can survive in most areas of the western U.S. The sweet nectar of penstemon will have the bees, birds, and butterflies flocking to your garden.

The best time to plant the penstemon beardtongue is during spring, so their roots will grow before the winter season comes. This plant is hardy, and its stems are strong, so you don’t need to support the branches unless your plants are planted in exposed locations.

Knowing When to Plant Penstemon and How to Grow it

How to Grow and Take Care of Penstemon

The penstemon plants come in different colors like salmon, pink, lavender, red, and white. Their tubular shape is perfect for hummingbirds who like to spend their nesting period near penstemons. Every flower has five petals, and they come in different colors, such as pink, red, lavender, salmon, and white. Penstemon is a perennial, but they may also grow as an annual in cold or warm areas.

Here’s what you need to know about growing and taking care of penstemon beardtongue plants:


Light preference

Penstemon prefers part shade to full sun. However, this mainly depends on the type of penstemon. For example, plants with reddish or purple leaves grow best under direct sunlight. Make sure to do a little research on the kind of penstemon you want to grow.



The best soil for penstemons is well-drained and slightly alkaline. However, these plants can even grow in soil that’s mostly sand and gravel. They don’t grow well when planted poorly drained soil and are sensitive to winter moisture. It helps to plant them in raised beds to help them survive moist conditions. Don’t add any soil amendments that retain water like manure or peat moss.


Water needs

Even though penstemons are not as drought tolerant as cacti, many variants grow well in sweltering weather conditions. The amount of water you give your plants depends on the type of penstemon you choose and your soil’s capacity to hold water.

For variants native to your area, you don’t need to water them as much once they’re established. But for hybrids propagated for gardens, they may not be as drought-tolerant as the native varieties, so you may need to water them more often during dry spells.


Grow from seeds

You can quickly grow penstemons from seed. The best time to plant them is to sow them outdoors during the fall season to the beginning of winter because these seeds require some time to stratify and break dormancy. In this way, your penstemon seeds will germinate naturally. Sow the seeds about half an inch deep and keep it moist. It usually takes a year or two before you can see your plants bloom.


Deadheading and pruning

Deadheading lengthens the blooming stage, but you should leave a handful of seed heads if you want your plants to reseed. You’ll also need to prune your penstemons by cutting the stems after flowering. By pruning your penstemons, this encourages the growth of new leaves and flowers.


Pests and blight

Penstemons are resilient plants, and you don’t need to worry about pests and serious diseases. However, you need to watch out for root rot, powdery mildew, southern blight, and leaf spot, as for pests, spider mites, quail, slugs, snails, and other critters. Generally, you don’t have to worry about pests and blight as long as you’re growing your penstemons in the appropriate environment.


Why Use a Hobby Greenhouse?

Even though penstemons are hardy plants, they need to grow in their ideal growing environment to produce many flowers. Other than that, here are other reasons why you should invest in a mini greenhouse:


Protect plants from pests and diseases

Penstemons are less susceptible to pests and diseases if they’re grown in appropriate growing conditions. However, when pests and diseases do infiltrate your plants, the damage can be catastrophic. If you want to protect your plants from pests and diseases, grow them inside a hobby greenhouse.


Gardeners with limited space

Fresh flowers are a great addition to any home, but not everyone has a spacious garden or backyard. If you have limited garden space, a hobby greenhouse is a great alternative. With a standard size of six feet, you can place them anywhere – on balconies, patios, and decks. You can plant almost anything inside a greenhouse – from flowering plants to fruits and vegetables.


Start early plant growth

With a mini greenhouse, you can start growing your plants before the cold season arrives in your area. Once the weather becomes more favorable, you can transfer your healthy crops into your garden.


Keeps plants safe from harsh weather

A hobby or mini greenhouse can keep your plants safe from frost, snow, high winds, excessive heat, and unpredictable weather. You can place them inside the enclosure until spring rolls in. When the weather is warmer and friendlier, you can transfer your plants into your garden or snip a few and place them inside your home.


The Bottom Line on When to Plant Penstemon

Now that you know when to plant penstemon and how to take care of them, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful blooms in your garden or inside your home.


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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.



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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