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Penstemon Flower

Penstemon Flower

Penstemon Flower

In kitchens across the world, the Penstemon flower decorates every kind of dish imaginable. In the petals are oils that add flavor and perfume to dishes. The leaves and stems make a useful salad or vegetable chop. These plants are largely used in Europe and Asia. But across North America, the plant has been slow to escalate in popularity, which may be because of its extensive water needs.Penstemons are valuable garden plants, grown for their long-flowering season and popularity with bees. There are many different types of penstemon, with some suited to the alpine garden while the majority are at home in the heart of a herbaceous border. Border penstemons have tubular late summer flowers in a wide range of colours. The flowers look very similar to those of a foxglove.

Plant

The plantain family (Plantaginaceae) gifts us with some wonderful ornamental flowering plants, including snapdragons, foxglove, and the valuable Penstemon genus, which contains more than 250 beardtongue species ready to grow in your garden. Penstemon plants are herbaceous perennials that feature lance-shaped foliage and spikes of tubular flowers. Flower colors include pink, red, white, purple, and (rarely) yellow. The nickname of bearded tongue refers to the pollen-free stamen that protrudes from the flower, resembling a bearded iris in this aspect. This perennial is easy to grow from seeds planted in spring to early summer. It's somewhat slow to start and needs 10 to 21 days to germinate.Beardtongue plants typically bloom in early summer, filling that gap between the end of spring bulbs and the maturing of summer flowers like coneflowers, yarrow, and coreopsis. Most penstemons are 1 to 3 feet tall, but Palmer’s penstemon can grow up to 6 feet, giving you options for the middle and back of the border. Keep the penstemon flowerbed weeded regularly. A 3-inch layer of organic mulch can help to control weeds, and rock mulch is also a suitable choice. You can cut the spent flower stems back after blooming to help plants look tidy. Penstemons don’t compete well with other plants, so give them plenty of space in the garden.

Penstemons are easy to start from seed, which is just as well, as many of the species are short-lived perennials. Seeds may germinate better after a period of aging, mimicking their conditions in the wild, so you can store seed for several years before planting. If you sow the seeds in the garden, do so in autumn, to allow a natural stratification period. Alternatively, you can stratify the seeds in the refrigerator for three months if you plan to start them indoors. If you purchase penstemon seeds, be sure to check the growing zone, as tender varieties like the ‘Tubular Bells’ series are often sold alongside the hardy perennial types. Penstemon plants are usually disease-free when given the proper culture of full sun and good drainage. Gardeners with heavy clay may lose plants to root rot, especially in areas with heavy snow that experience a long spring thaw. In Southern gardens, plants that don't have adequate soil drainage or are planted too closely together may succumb to powdery mildew (Source: www.thespruce.com)

 

 

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