Husker's Red Penstemon and Russian Sage Propagation

It's that time of the year again. That time when I go out and take cuttings of everything I can. For today's post I took 6 cuttings of a 'Husker's Red' Penstemon (Penstemon digitalis) and 6 cuttings of Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia).


I picked up the 'Husker's Red' Penstemon on the discount racks last year just as it was losing its flowers. Sometimes perennials find their way to the "Isle of Misfit Plants" just because they passed their peak bloom time and people think the show is over. Not so by any means, just like zombie movies: they come back! At least they do if they are perennials. Right now our 'Husker's Red' is growing tall with new leaves which are the perfect leaves for making cuttings. I took cuttings from the stem tips with 2-4 leaves on each. I pinched off any leaves over that count and also pinched the growth tip also called the apical bud. This is where the growth hormones (auxins) reside.  The apical bud also inhibits the growth of competing stems below the tip.  By pinching off the tip I can encourage the plant to send out more stems to make a bushier plant.


I won't go over the Russian sage cuttings in this post but you can look back at other Russian sage posts (see here for hardwood cuttings, see here for softwood cuttings) to see more about propagating them. Needless to say Russian sage is one of my favorite perennials due to its drought tolerance and animal hardiness. The deer and rabbits seem to avoid it due to its fragrance. Not a bad deal for the gardener!

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