Genus: Penstemon

Penstemon

Photo/Illustration: 
Steve Aitken
(Penstemon)
PEN-steh-mon
Scrophulariaceae
The genus Penstemon contains 250 species of perennials and subshrubs from North and Central America that are grown for their spikes of tubular, often brightly colored, 2-lipped flowers. Flowers resemble foxgloves and often bloom from early summer to mid-autumn. Many species are evergreen or at least semi-evergreen. Numerous cultivars are available. Grow Penstemon in the border, rock garden, or as bedding.
Noteworthy characteristics:  Showy spikes of tubular flowers that often attract hummingbirds.
Care:  Rock garden species need full sun and poor to moderately fertile, gritty soil that is very well-drained. Border species can grow in full sun or partial shade and fertile, well-drained soil. Many cultivars are short-lived.
Propagation: 

Seeds should be sown in late winter or spring in a cold frame (for rock garden plants) or indoors at 55° to 64°F (for border plants). <em>Penstemon</em> can also be propagated from softwood cuttings taken in early summer, from semi-ripe cuttings in mid-summer, or by division in spring.

Species, varieties and clutivars for genus Penstemon

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Penstemon 'Garnet'
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Alberta beardtongue
Penstemon albertinus
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Beardlip penstemon
Penstemon barbatus
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Cardinal penstemon
Penstemon cardinalis
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Penstemon clutei
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Dew flower
Penstemon cobaea
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Foxglove penstemon
Penstemon digitalis
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Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'
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Penstemon jamesii
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Penstemon nitidus
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Palmer's penstemon
Penstemon palmeri
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Penstemon parryi
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Penstemon Phoenix™ Red
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Rocky Mountain penstemon
Penstemon strictus 'Bandera'
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Whipple's penstemon
Penstemon whippleanus
Problems: 

Powdery mildew, rust, leaf spots, Southern blight. Young plants can be attacked by slugs and snails.