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Penstemon

Penstemon (pen-steem-on), beard tongue, Plantaginaceae Family. A large diverse genus of perennials, practically all are from North America, as nearly every region has adapted kinds. Some excel naturalized in open, sunny places; some are good for mixed herbaceous borders or rock gardens.  Penstemon flowers are funnel, bell or tube-shaped with two lips and five stamens – the fifth being bearded and usually sterile. Flowers are commonly on stiff spikes rising from foliage rosettes or mound that sometimes are evergreen. They need sun, reasonably moist soil during the spring growth season and ordinary garden soil.

Penstemons are very drought tolerant perennials that are easy to grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil. Root rot can occur in wet, poorly-drained soils. Soil fertility need only be average, but a light mulch in winter is recommended. Rarely bothered by insects or diseases.

When planted in mass, Penstemons make a tremendous color statement attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Attributes: flower borders, cut flowers and foliage, drought tolerant, mass plantings, salt tolerant and easy to grow.

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