Penstemon 'Husker's Red'

Penstemon ‘Husker’s Red’

Commonly called Beardtongue, this native plant is a perennial that is fully hardy to zone 3.  Mature plants can be 2 feet tall and a foot and a half across. The shiny leaves are dark green/maroon and the undersides are fully colored maroon, as are the stems and flower stalks. It holds its color long into fall, after most things have gone dormant.  The beautiful upright stems of lipped, tubular flowers are white to very light pink. Husker’s Red blooms in April to June and then re-blooms until frost if cut back when the first stalks start to go to seed. The white flowers have high contrast with the foliage so the plant is ideal for the moon garden.  The plant has the best foliage color, and blooms best, in full sun, but it can take some shade.  It’s super easy to care for, just remove old foliage in spring and cut off seed heads in fall if you don’t want self-sowing.  It has many other benefits including being deer resistant, drought tolerant once established, and attractive to bees, birds and butterflies.  Being the Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year in 1996 is what brought this plant into the public eye and into our gardens.  Penstemon means five stamens in Greek.