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Growing Penstemon (Bearded Tongue)

Botanical Name:

Penstemon

Life Cycle:

perennial

Planting Time:

spring

Height:

10" to 36"

Exposure:

full sun to partial shade

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Soil:

dry to moist, well-drained soils with an acidic to slightly alkaline pH

Hardiness:

zones 4-9

Bloom Time:

summer

Flower:

thimble-shaped flowers on spikes in a variety of colors including pinks, purples, reds and whites

Foliage:

green or maroon

Propagation:

division

Suggested Use:

beds, borders, cut flowers, rock gardens, edging, accents, and butterfly and hummingbird gardens

Growing Hints:

Purchase plants in summer while in bloom to ensure you get the color you want. Water regularly during the first season. Once plant is established it will be fairly drought tolerant. In warmer zones, cut back spent stems to encourage a second wave of flowers in late summer to early fall. Cooler zones will not have enough time for a second wave of flowers, but deadheading will prolong blooming period. Propagate in the spring by division and give plants a light application of an organic fertilizer. Cut stems back to 6 inches on plants in the spring to encourage bushy growth.

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Interesting Facts:

Penstemon is native to North America. Native Americans used penstemons medicinally to relieve pain, treat snake bites and other health problems.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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Home and Garden Gardening Growing PerennialsMarch 15, 2006
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