Border penstemons are perfect for the middle of a mixed border. They enjoy a fertile, reasonably moist soil that is free-draining. Full sun or light shade is ideal.
Plant in spring so that new plants get a foothold before having to face the winter. Stems are strong so it's only in very exposed garden that plant supports will be required.
Cuttings can be taken in late summer or early autumn. Select soft growth without a flower. Cut each cutting back to below a leaf joint and remove the lower leaves. More than one cutting can be put into a pot of cutting compost as long as the leaves don’t touch.
Place them in a sheltered spot in the garden or a cold frame. All being well they'll be ready to plant out the following May
Penstemons are fairly short-lived plants. Take cuttings of your favourite penstemons every few years to ensure you have the next generation in place.
To prevent plants from failing to make it through winter, don’t cut faded stems back hard until spring.
If you continue to fail with penstemons ensure that the soil is not waterlogged. Dig in horticultural grit to improve drainage.
In spring apply a general purpose fertiliser to your mixed borders. Water freshly planted penstemons for the first summer to help them establish on a dry soil.
In autumn cut back the faded foliage by just a third to prevent windrock and then cut the remaining foliage back hard in spring after the last frost.