July Plant of the Month | Penstemon


Penstemon

Penstemons are extremely valuable summer-flowering perennials. Native to North America, they thrive in well-drained soil and can admirably tolerate drought conditions. Available in shades from deepest purple to delicate pinks, due to their long flowering season from summer into autumn they bring welcome colour to the garden.


Penstemon Varieties

There are many beautiful varieties of Penstemon available. Some of our favourites are within the Penstemon 'Pensham' and Penstemon 'Pentastic' Series.

Penstemon Pensham 'Amelia Jane'

P. 'Amelia Jane' is a hardy, clump-forming, upright, semi-evergreen perennial with linear green leaves. It offers red, bell-shaped flowers with white throats from summer into autumn. This is a perfect plant for your mixed and herbaceous borders and is loved by bees. 

Flowering time: May to September

Sun requirements: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Any good, well-drained soil

Hardiness: Hardy to -10 °C 

Size: Grows to 90cm x 60cm  


Penstemon Pensham 'Laura'

P. 'Laura' is a hardy, clump-forming, upright, semi-evergreen perennial with linear green leaves. The flowers are clean, white tubes, which are boldly edged with candy pink giving a striking contrast when produced from summer into autumn. This is a perfect plant for your mixed and herbaceous borders and is loved by bees. 

Flowering time: May to September

Sun requirements: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Any good, well-drained soil

Hardiness: Hardy to -10 °C 

Size: Grows to 70cm x 45cm  


Penstemon Pensham 'Plum Jerkum'

P. 'Plum Jerkum' is a hardy, clump-forming, upright, semi-evergreen perennial with linear green leaves. Its dark, morello cherry tubular flowers are even darker in the throat with prominent white bee lines and are produced from summer into autumn. This is a perfect plant for your mixed and herbaceous borders and is loved by bees. 

Flowering time: May to September

Sun requirements: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Any good, well-drained soil

Hardiness: Hardy to -10 °C 

Size: Grows to 80cm x 60cm  


Penstemon Pensham 'Czar'

P. 'Czar is a hardy, clump-forming, upright, semi-evergreen perennial with linear green leaves. The tubular, trumpet-shaped, plum-purple flowers with white interiors are produced from summer into autumn. This is a great plant for attracting and providing nectar for bees. 

Flowering time: May to September

Sun requirements: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Any good, well-drained soil

Hardiness: Hardy to -10 °C 

Size: Grows to 90cm x 45cm


Penstemon Pentastic 'Rose'

P. 'Rose' is stunning variety of this popular garden plant. The Pentastic series has been bred for sheer flower power and garden performance. This dense, bushy, semi-evergreen perennial creates a branching clump with deep green foliage. It will produce multiple spires bearing large flowers which are rose pink on the ends of the flowers with a white throat. This easy to grow plant is excellent in a border or grown in a patio container. 

Flowering time: May to September

Sun requirements: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Any good, well-drained soil

Hardiness: Hardy to -10 °C 

Size: Grows to 50cm x 45cm


Penstemon Growing Guide

Planting

Grow penstemons in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. 

Watering and Feeding

Mulch annually with well-rotted manure or leaf mould, and feed weekly in summer.

Pruning

Penstemons are short-lived perennials that can suffer in winter. To avoid losses, don’t cut back plants until spring. Take summer cuttings to prevent winter losses.


Penstemon Planting Ideas

Penstemons work perfectly as part of mixed and herbaceous borders, particularly those with a more informal cottage garden style.

You could plant a border with a variety of penstemons in different shades. Or, for a fiery red splash of colour, try planting red penstemons together with crocosmia and red antirrhinums (snapdragons)


Penstemon Fact

Penstemons are closely related to digitalis (foxgloves) and antirrhinum.