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Long-stemmed Foxgloves (Orobanche) make a natural hedge to divide crops and keep animals out. These perennials will bloom for an entire season, starting in late spring and going until late summer.The tubular flowers of this plant attract long-tongued bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, Miner bees, Mason bees, and hummingbirds. Penstemon digitalis is also one of the host plants for the Chalcedon Checkerspot and Edith's Checkerspot. Penstemons are called 'Beard Tongues' because the sterile stamen has a tuft of small hairs. You may choose to pair Penstemon with some of these other native plants: Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea), Spiderworts (Tradescantia ohiensis), and Prairie Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium campestre). Other common names include Mississippi Penstemon, Smooth White Beardtongue, Talus Slope Penstemon, and simply, Beardtongue.
Penstemon digitalis (Foxglove Beardtongue) is a bushy clump-forming perennial with strong, erect stems boasting stalked clusters of bell-shaped, white flowers, 1 in. long (2.5 cm), from late spring to midsummer. Resembling foxgloves, they rise above a particularly handsome basal foliage of lance-shaped, deep green leaves. The foliage of this robust perennial can be semi-evergreen in warm winter areas. The flowers are followed by small capsules which often turn reddish in late summer, dry brown in fall, and hold well into winter. Adding lovely vertical lines to the landscape, Foxglove Beardtongue is suitable for the perennial border, the natural landscape or in prairie reconstructions.Penstemon is a large genus of herbaceous perennials in the plantain family (Plantaginaceae) native to North America.
Most are best suited for western climates where there are leaner soils and less humid conditions. P. digitalis – commonly called foxglove beardtongue or smooth penstemon – is an exception, being one of the few penstemons that does well in areas with moist winters and humid summers. The species is found in prairies, fields, along the edges of woodlands or in open forests and along roads and railroad tracks in the eastern part of North America from eastern Canada to Virginia and from South Dakota to eastern Texas to Alabama. The cultivar ‘Husker Red’ was developed by Dale Lindgren at the University of Nebraska and released in 1983 with the name referencing the school’s color (and the maroon color of the foliage) and nickname, the Cornhuskers. It was the Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year in 1996 and is hardy in zones 3 to 8. (Source:hort.extension.wisc.edu)