Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Sunday - June 21, 2009

From: South Jordan, UT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks
Title: Care for penstemons in South Jordan, UT
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have Firecracker Penstemons and they bloomed beautifully this year. How do I trim them and when? Will they continue to bloom throughout the summer?

ANSWER:

Penstemon eatonii (firecracker penstemon) is a desert mountain plant. Turns out Salt Lake County, UT, besides being desert, ranges from elevations of 4300 to 5200 ft., so you have the perfect plant in the perfect spot. The plant ordinarily blooms from May to August, and if you don't want seeds, you should trim off the blooms as soon as they are done and before setting seeds. This may inspire the plant to put on some more blooms. When the penstemon dies back in late Fall, we recommend that you trim it down close to the ground, leaving some stubs so you know where it is and where to expect it to re-emerge in the Spring. Be sure and clean up the plant litter around your perennials to prevent the overwintering of insects or fungi in the litter. This UNPS website Firecracker penstemon has some added information. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Firecracker penstemon
Penstemon eatonii

Firecracker penstemon
Penstemon eatonii

Parry's penstemon
Penstemon parryi

Firecracker penstemon
Penstemon eatonii

More Seasonal Tasks Questions

When to prune Texas betony (Stachys coccinea)
May 28, 2007 - I bought Texas Betony plants several years ago at Wildflower Days. They are thriving, but a bit leggy. Somewhere I read that they should be cut back several times during the year. Now I can't find...
view the full question and answer

Burning back Gulf Muhly instead of trimming from San Antonio
December 19, 2011 - A few years ago I noticed that the Center burned back its Gulf Muhly rather than cutting it back. Did that study result in any conclusions or recommendations?
view the full question and answer

Time for seeding wildflower seeds in Castle Rock CO
October 03, 2011 - I live in Castle Rock, CO. When is the best time to plant wildflower seed?
view the full question and answer

Planting Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly)
October 27, 2011 - Is it too late to plant Gulf Muhly seed in North Texas (October)?
view the full question and answer

Removal of Carolina Jasmine in San Antonio
March 02, 2009 - We are attempting to permanently remove large old-growth Carolina Yellow Jasmine, Gelsemium sempervirens bushes from our property. The bushes are cut down. Any suggestions for stump/root removal (mec...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.