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Hort in the Home Landscape

Plant of the Week- Penstemon

This week's Plant of the Week has always been a favorite of mine. Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) is a native perennial you'll find growing in prairies, fields, wood margins, open woods and along railroad tracks throughout the state. At a local garden center, you'll also find a variety of great cultivars available.

This clump-forming, perennial typically grows 3-5' tall and has wonderful white, two-lipped, tubular flowers borne in panicles 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. One of the many reasons I love this plant!

Several species of Beardtongue 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 beautiful dark purple foliage and is slightly shorter that the straight species. And it was the Perennial Plant of the Year in 1996!

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'Pikes Peak Purple' is a hybrid variety that blooms most of the summer with large concord grape-purple flowers. Great for hummingbirds!

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Whichever cultivar you decide, consider adding this wonderful perennial to your landscape!