Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 10 Professionals
Common Name: beardtongue
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Plantaginaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil

Culture

Grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Avoid wet, poorly drained soils.

Needs full sun for best foliage color.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Penstemon digitalis is a clump-forming, Missouri-native perennial which typically grows 3-5' tall and occurs in prairies, fields, wood margins, open woods and along railroad tracks. Features white, two-lipped, tubular flowers (to 1.25" long) borne in panicles atop erect, rigid stems. Flowers bloom mid-spring to early summer. Basal leaves are elliptic and stem leaves are lance-shaped to oblong.

Genus name comes from the Greek words penta meaning five and stemon meaning stamen in reference to each flower having five stamens (four are fertile and one is sterile).

Specific epithet comes from the Latin digitus meaning finger for flowers that look like the finger of a glove.

Penstemon is sometimes commonly called beard tongue because the sterile stamen has a tuft of small hairs.

'Husker Red' typically grows 2-3' tall. Features white (sometimes with a pink blush), two-lipped, tubular flowers borne in panicles atop erect, rigid stems. Flowers bloom mid-spring to early summer. Leaves are maroon (hence the cultivar name). Basal leaves are elliptic and stem leaves are lance-shaped to oblong. Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year (1996).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot can occur in wet, poorly-drained soils. Leaf spots are occasional problems.

Flowering can be quite profuse and support is sometimes necessary.

Garden Uses

Mass in sunny borders. Also effective as accent or specimen.