PENSTEMON

Penstemons are shrubby perennials which bear Snap-dragon-like flowers. Their blooms are usually pink or purple, but blue and white varieties are available. Grow one or more of the many rockery species by all means, but they do tend to be delicate. Winter is the trying time, when many specimens are killed by a combination of cold winds, severe frosts and wet ground.

VARIETIES: One of the most highly recommended species is the low-growing P. rupicola – height 3 in., spread 1 ft.

Flowering period: May-June. The 1 in. long flowers are pale crimson. P. pinifolius is the hardiest of the group – height 6 in., spread 1 ft.

Flowering period: June-September. This late-flowering species bears dark orange V2 in. blooms. There are several others (P. menziesii, P. newberryi and P. scouleri) which grow about 9-12 in. high and 1-1.5 ft across, bearing pink or pale purple flowers in June.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained soil – thrives best in a sheltered site in full sun.

PROPAGATION: Plant cuttings in a cold frame in summer. (

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