Penstemon species

Penstemon digitalis, 'Husker Red'
Penstemon digitalis, 'Husker Red'

Common name: Penstemon numerous species
Scientific name: Penstemon spp.
Family name: Scrophulariaceae

Attracts: Penstemons are food for deer, antelope and birds either as a green plant or seed. They may also provide some cover for selected small bird species. Nectar attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and other insects.

Host plant to: Purple-lined Swallow moth (Pyrrhia expimens)

Native range: found all over the entire United States and some areas of Canada. There are species for every region.

Habitat: does best on well-drained soils but will also do well on infertile, disturbed soils. They have excellent cold winter and drought tolerance. The plants are usually found in open areas, but will tolerate semi-shaded conditions

Height: varies with species
Light needed: sun or semi-shaded
Hardiness zones: there is a species found in all areas of the United States.
Bloom period: May through July depending on species
Bloom color: varies with species

Growing Tips: The best seeding results are obtained from seeding in very early spring. Late summer (August – mid September) seeding is not recommended. Flowering should not be expected until at least the second growing season.

Description: Penstemons are perennial forbs, subshrubs to shrubs with attractive flowers. They are most common in the western United States. A good guide to native flowers for your region will list local natives.

Find a map with what Penstemons are native to your area visit, http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PENST

Photo credit: Donna L. Long

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