Penstemon etonii, courtesy of Barbara Lewis



Penstemon palmerii

Propagating penstemon can be a very rewarding hobby. However, there is a great amount of variation in both the ease and method of propagating these native plants. Some species grow very easily from seed, others are stubborn from seed. The same is true of starting plants from cuttings; some species and cultivars start easily, others do not. There have been many reports in the Bulletin of the American Penstemon Society, as well as in other journals, on propagating penstemon. Many times, the methods and results from different sources do not agree with each other. However, most growers will, with experience, develop their own method of propagating these beautiful plants.

With all plants, there are two general methods of propagation, sexual and asexual. With sexual propagation, plants are started from seed and progeny are not always identical to the parent. With asexual propagation, plants are increased vegetatively and progeny are identical to the parent.

Sometimes, plants grown from seed will produce plants that are especially desirable for height, color or other qualities and you will want to reproduce them. Vegetative propagation is a method to ensure that new plants are identical to their parents. Vegetative methods of propagation include division, layering, cuttings and tissue culture. Tissue culture methods require specialized equipment and facilities and will therefore not be discussed in this section. An introduction to growing penstemon in tissue culture can be found in the reference section at the end of this text.

This website has dedicated pages to propagation by Seed, Layering, Cuttings, and Divisions.

References for Propagating Penstemons

The original text from which this content was devired included the following references. We have chosen to print it here rather than in a separate web page.

Allen, P.S. and S.E. Meyer. 1990. Temperature requirements for seed germination of three Penstemon species. HortScience 25(2):191-193.

Deno, N.C. 1991. Penstemon germination. Bull. Am. Penstemon Soc. 50-1:3-6.

Kitchen, S.G. and S.E. Meyer. 1991. Seed germination of intermountain penstemons as influenced by chilling and GA3. J. Envir. Hort. 9:51-56.

Lindgren, D. 1990. ‘Prairie Snow’ Penstemon. HortScience 25(4):489.

Lindgren, D. 2000. Breeding Penstemon. Chapter 11. In: Breeding Ornamental Plants. Edited by D.J. and M.B. Callaway. Timber Press. Portland, OR.

Lindgren, D.T. and B. McCown. 1992. Multiplication of four Penstemon species in vivtro. HortScience 27(2):182.

Lindgren, D. and E. Wilde. 2003. Growing penstemon: species, cultivars and hybrids., Haverford, PA.

Lindgren, D. and D. Schaaf. 2004. Influence of seed stratification and seed age on emergence of Penstemon. HortScience 39(6):1385-1386.

Meyer, S.E., S.G. Kitchen and S.L. Carlson. 1995. Seed germination timing patterns in intermountain Penstemon (Scrophulariaceae). Am. J. Bot. 82(3):377-389.

Raeber, A.C. and C. Lee. 1991. Gibberellic acid, temperature, light, stratification and salinity affect germination of Penstemon parryi seed. HortScience 26(12):1535-1537.

Salac, S.S. and M.C. Hesse. 1975. Effects of storage and germination conditions on the germination of four species of wildflowers. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 100:359-361.

Stubbendieck, J., T. Flessner, C. Butterfield and A. Steuter. 1993. Establishment and survival of the endangered blowout Penstemon. Great Plains Res. 3:3-19.


Propagation information courtesy of Dale Lindgren.


A link to Jim Swayne's Penstemon Seed Germination page, courtesy of Jim Swayne