A large and diverse group of plants (about 270 species). Their showy, tubular flowers are usually held above the foliage in upright spikes. Drought tolerant. We are in Penstemon nirvana because Utah is known as the Penstemon capital of the world with over 80 native varieties. Native Americans used Penstemon roots to relieve toothaches.
The glossy bronze-red foliage is topped with masses of pink flowers in July and August. Tolerates high heat and humidity. This plant has darker foliage than Husker Red and stays darker.
Winchester Gardens generally stocks this item.
Purple Black, Red
Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil. Choose a site where the plants will have plenty of room; penstemons don’t like to be crowded.
Plant in spring, spacing plants 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety. Don’t crowd plants. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.
Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. After the first killing frost, cut stems back to an inch or two above soil line.
Lady’s mantle – Lady’s mantle has foamy sprays of chartreuse flowers in late spring and is a fine companion for early penstemon in full sun.
Lamb’s-ears – A low carpet of fuzzy, silvery lamb’s-ears at the feet of brightly colored penstemon presents an interesting combination. Good drainage and full sun will please both.
Catmint – Smaller catmint is fine in combination with penstemon. The gray foliage and loose spikes of the lavender flowers complement each other.