This may prove the biggest, boldest species of this entire genus of fabulous perennial flowers. It originates deep in Mexico, in the state of Hidalgo northwest of the capital city.
This is high altitude, where plants are found in the pine and oak woodlands. Such locations indicate a preference for acidic soils and greater shade tolerance than the rest of this sun loving clan.
This late summer bloomer produces enormous spires of blooms from three to five feet above the rosette of foliage that can become woody at the base. Each tubular blossom is bright purpl, violet or red.
A favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds, this rabbit- and deer-resistant perennial likes sun and good drainage, and is hardiest in soil that is somewhat moist in summer and dry in winter.
It is not as heat tolerant as its western relatives, so protect from harsh afternoon sun in desert regions. Where not hardy it can be grown as an annual.
Neutral to alkaline soil of moderate to low fertility suits it best; it requires no fertilizer.
Information source: http://learn2grow.com/plants/penstemon-hartwegii/
Genus - Penstemon
Species - Hartwegii
Variety - Sensation Mixed
Common name - Penstemon
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 4 - 9
Height - 0,90 - 1,50 m
Spread - 0,30 - 0,60 m
Plant type - Perennial flower
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral
Soil type - Loam, sand, well drained
Water requirements - Drought Tolerant, Average Water
Landscape uses - Cut flowers, borders, large containers
Bloom season - July - October
Leaf / Flower color - Green / mix
1. Soak the penstemon seeds in a bowl of cool water for 24 hours before sowing them. Do this in early spring approximately six weeks before the last hard freeze (January to April).
2. Sow the penstemon seeds in 3-1/2 inch starter pots filled with seedling compost. Place a seed on the compost’s surface. Sprinkle a scant layer of seedling compost on top of the seed without completely burying it.
3. Spritzing each starter pot with water from a spray bottle anchors the seed and moistens the compost at a depth of 1/4 inch. Spray each pot four or five times with the spray bottle. Maintain moisture at 1/4-inch depth during the germination process.
4. Place the starter pots outdoors in a cold, shaded spot for 14-45 days chilling the seeds. Make sure temperatures stay below 55 degrees Fahrenheit during the chilling period. You can use refrigerator as well.
5. Move the starter pots into a cold frame or indoors onto a sunny, warm windowsill following the chilling period. Exposing the pots to very bright light for at least eight hours each day prompts germination.
6. Watch for sprouting in two to four weeks. Move the starter pots outdoors to a sunny, sheltered spot where temperatures stay above 60 F.
7. Transplant the penstemon seedlings into a bed with fertile soil and full sun as soon as nighttime temperatures stay reliably above 50 F.
Info source: eHow.com
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