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