How to Cut Back Penstemon

Also known as beard tongue, the penstemon plant is a popular selection for gardeners for its wide array of colours and the ability of various varieties to grow in different climates and terrains. In the proper conditions, the plant, with its tubular bell-shaped flowers, should grow with no problem.

To enhance the plant's appearance, you should cut it back periodically to encourage a more full, compact growth and more flowers.

Mix a very mild solution of bleach in water in a small bucket, about one part bleach to nine parts water or a little more. The solution is for the sterilisation of your pruners, to prevent bacteria and other microbes from invading the cuts you are about to make to your penstemon.

Sterilise your pruners by dipping the blades into the mild bleach solution. Wipe the blades dry with a small cloth.

Cut back your penstemon plants using your pruners. Plants should be cut back until they are just about five or six inches from the ground. Small penstemon plants--those that grow to about four inches--can be pruned to about two inches from the ground.

Remove old stems. As you are going through your penstemon plants, note where there are new shoots and cut out old stems as close to the base of the plant as you can.