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Hort in the Home Landscape

A blog devoted to sharing timely horticulture topics and answering the questions of gardeners and homeowners.
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Plant of the Week: Beardstongue, Penstemon


This week's Plant of the Week is Beardstongue (Penstemon digitalis). I've noticed many beautiful Beardstongues blooming in landscapes this past week.

Several species of Beardstongues can be found in the garden, but Penstemon digitalis is a pretty solid performer.  'Husker Red' is a cultivar that you see very commonly which has a really nice dark purple foliage and is slightly shorter that the straight species:

Photo from the Missouri Botanic Garden

This Illinois native is a clump-forming, perennial that typically grows 3-5' tall and occurs in prairies, fields, wood margins, open woods and along railroad tracks. The flowers of this particular beardstongue are white, two-lipped, tubular flowers borne in panicles atop erect, rigid stems blooming in mid-spring to early summer. The tall height of these flowers mixes beautifully with many other perennials in the landscape and sways wonderfully in the wind. 

The absence of any serious pest and disease issues makes this a pretty solid choice for a garden site in full or partial sun and with average moisture and soils. I certainly need to add some more of this perennial to my landscape!

Learn more from Missouri Botanic Garden here.



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