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I have a couple of very large Penstemons in my garden, which were lovely for a couple of years, but got too large so I cut them back.  They are still growing well but I had virtually no flowers last summer.   Was this because I cut them back at the wrong time, in the wrong way or was it to do with the awful weather last year.    I need to cut them back again but would like to get it right this time.   Can anyone help?

I cut mine back in March, and I too had less flowers last year.    I am putting it down to the lousy summer, and I have already done mine this year.


I'd blame the weather. It was responsible for a lot of grief last year. After winter is a good cutting back time

I usually give mine a light prune around now (depending on the weather) but last year like many plants, it flowered very late.

Gosh thanks so much for the advice and so quick!!   Glad other people had the same experience as me, makes me feel like I did less of a hatchet job on them.    I will be out wielding the secateurs this weekend, snow and wind permitting....  #

Thanks again everyone




In my experience penstemons are at their best when 2 or 3 years old and then flowering reduces. But, cuttings are so easy.....take them in early spring and you will have good plants by late summer. It looks like being warmer at weekend so good time to cut them back

Thanks Verdun, i will try the cuttings and see what happens.  Not always that good with cuttings, but will certainly have a go.

Thanks again


Give yourself 2 chances- use the prunings from their cut back this spring for 1 lot of cutting material, then take fresh cuttings again in late summer.

Those taken in the late summer will need overwintering, but a coldframe/unheated porch/greenhouse will be fine. Pop a fleece 'blanket' over them if really cold winter. J.

Hi Everyone, Cut these down to the ground in April, and took lots of cuttings.  All the cuttings died, but the plants are now looking wonderful and have come back stronger and better than before.

Will try cuttings again next year, but thanks foir all the advi ce.


Did they flower well after you cut back?

looking at huge floppy overgrown but much-loved plants and wondering what to do!


Yes, AbiM, they need cutting back to perform well. Now. Down to a good set of growing shoots. But read this whole thread, they do go downhill eventually and cuttings are a good plant

Wendy 11

Cut back mine a few weeks ago and cuttings already taken  


Have cut mine down again this year, not taken cuttings as I have lots of others that I have taken from other plants and shrubs - probably getting carried away, but hey ho.   I hope I get another good display this year and plan to put some more new ones in alongside to get a mix of colours.



Cut mine back to about 10cm yesterday. Looking forwards to the results! Also, following the advice if another thread, dug up some woody lavenders and buried them so that only the new growth is above ground. Will be so pleased if that revival technique works too!



That's good Abi. You do it while I just think about it

But I've only got 2 and I've done 1.

I've got a couple of interesting little species penstemons though, they only need the flower stems taken off



I like that tip about the lavenders Abi, might give it a go. 

Penstemons all cut back and growing well.

My friend said I should cut penstemons back now but my garden book says to thin out clumps of them but not cut back.  I will do some of each and see what happens.

Now is a good time to cut back penstemons...hard back to green shoots.  And use those pieces for cuttIngs.  Your best flowering plants will be next year....for me second  and third year plants are the best

Not sure about lavendars being buried like that.  Hmmmmmm!  Huge doubts.  Heathers yes.  Lavendars no.  Much better to buy fresh young plants with the vigour to flower well. I will be surprised if those buried lavendars survive. Please let us know