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The Plant Guide

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Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'

PEN-steh-mon dij-ih-TAL-iss

'Husker Red' is one of the few penstemons that does well in wet winters and hot, humid summers. Ruby-toned leaves appear in spring, followed in late spring and early summer by 3-foot-high stems adorned by panicles of white blooms.  The flowers attract bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies, but the plants are not magnets for deer or rabbits. In autumn and winter, songbirds feast on the seed. For a stunning display, plant 'Husker Red' in groups. -Chris Kelley, Regional Picks: Midwest, Fine Gardening issue #120

Noteworthy Characteristics'Husker Red' was the Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year in 1996.

CareProvide full sun to light shade and average, well-drained soil. Stake plants if necessary.

PropagationDivide plants in spring; take cuttings in summer; start seed indoors at 55-64°F.

ProblemsNothing serious, but root rot can occur in wet soil. Leaf spots occur occasionally.  

  • Genus : Penstemon
  • Plant Height : 1 to 3 feet
  • Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
  • Zones : 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Characteristics : Attracts Hummingbirds, Showy Foliage
  • Tolerance : Deer Tolerant, Drought Tolerant
  • Moisture : Dry to Medium
  • Bloom Time : Early Summer, Late Spring, Spring, Summer
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Foliage Color : Purple/Burgundy
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
  • Flower Color : White
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