How to Prune Beardtongue

Overview

Beardtongue is an evergreen penstemon plant that blooms with bell-shaped flowers that attract hummingbirds in early summer. The flowers that grow on beardtongue can be a number of colors, including dark purple, red, blue or white. Once beardtongue has bloomed for the season, flowers thrive throughout the fall. Proper pruning of your beardtongue can keep the plant looking its best all year long.

Step 1

Pick off the flower heads as they die throughout the season. When beardtongue flowers are dying, the deep color begins to fade. With white flowers, you can watch for wilting. Remove these flower heads to keep the beardtongue looking its most vibrant. Removing dying flowers will encourage the growth of new flowers all season long.

Step 2

Do the pruning of your beardtongue plants anytime between the flowers naturally falling off up to the first part of spring. Pruning after the flowers fall off ensures that your beardtongue has completed its life cycle for the year. If you wait too long to prune, however, you will be pruning away the growth for the new season

Step 3

Trim old shoots back to the green. These shoots likely will be the tallest and most frail looking. They should be trimmed in early spring when there is no possibility of frost.

Step 4

Prune beardtongue back to any desired height. Pruning to a foot or a taller will allow your beardtongue to experience some outward growth each season.

Step 5

Fertilize beardtongue after pruning. Fertilizing will help the beardtongue to return to full bloom.

Step 6

Maintain beardtongue every calendar year. Pruning keeps the size of the plant in check and also prevents diseases and mildew by increasing air flow throughout the limbs.

Step 7

Divide the plant roots. The older beardtongue gets, the denser the roots will become. After a few years, it is wise to separate your beardtongue roots. To divide beardtongue roots, gently dig around the base of the plant until the roots are exposed. Use the tip of a shovel to cut down around the plant base, leaving several inches of the root intact, then place the shovel beneath the base and gently lift it out of the ground. Dig a deep enough hole in the new location to completely embed the entire base of the beardtongue, place the beardtongue base into the hole and cover with soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Snap-cut pruners or a pruning saw
  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Rainy Side
  • Backyard Gardener
  • Gardener's Tips
Keywords: prune beardtongue, beardtongue plant care, pruning beardtongue

About this Author

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.