Penstemon grandiflorus

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Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04
Penstemon grandiflorus

I grew up with this Penstemon in my mothers gardens. Pollinated by bumble bees it has one of the largest flowers of the Penstemons. A gem from the Great Plains.

Here are shots of two color forms The pink being the more common. The white is a variant I ran across in a patch of pink ones about forty years ago. The seed from it will produce about 25% white offspring.

penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

Gorgeous. This species barely enters Colorado near the Kansas border. I find it monocarpic or nearly so in the front yard (with zero irrigation), but longer lived elsewhere in the garden.
'April Snow' (I think that's the right name; the white one) practically stops traffic. Well, they all do, if people drive slowly.

Bob

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Your "pink" shows very lavender on my screen, John.  Our native strain is lavender-pink (too?).  This one is grown from wild seed I collected in Isanti County, Minnesota, just north of St. Paul.  It is remarkably durable through the season. The plant seems just as fresh in late August as it does in early June.

       

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

Bob
In very dry sights they are monocarpic, as you point out, acting biannual in nature. There is little chance of losing them once established, since they produce copious amounts of seed.

Rick
Ya I have never been sure if I should call them pink or lavender.

I remember as a child waiting for a bumble bee to go into the flower. When it was all the way in, we would quick as a wink pinch the flower mouth shut. Then pluck it off the plant, the bee imprisoned in the blossom. It was thrilling to feel the bee buzzing at your finger tips. A quick toss of the blossom and run like hell, finished off these escapades.

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

deesen
deesen's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

How high does this one grow please?

David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

It will grow from 12 - 24 inches (30-60cm) tall, the basal rosette will not get very large about 4-6 inches (10-15cm) across.

We have mentioned that in a dry environment it acts monocarpic, however if it receives even a little extra moisture during the growing season, It will hang around and produce a plant the size you see in my photos.

The seed pods are rather decorative and work well in dried arrangements.

There will be seed available on the seed exchange this year. ;D

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Has anyone grown Penstemon cobaea v. purpureus?  It seems reminiscent of P. grandiflorus.  The photo of it in High Country Garden catalog shows an amazing plant.  Rated hardy to Zone 4, I'm particularly curious to know if any eastern USA gardener has succeeded with it.  In the link below, the larger thumbnail shows a larger photo when clicked.
http://www.highcountrygardens.com/catalog/product/75732/
larger image: http://www.highcountrygardens.com/images/products/75732.jpg

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Not sure why it is call variety purpureus, as there are certainly darker purple forms.  The P. cobaea I grow is of unspecified origin, but is less finicky than P. grandiflorus when it comes to needing drier and leaner soil.  More amenable to close neighbors, too. 
I guess this all is nothing new to horticulturists.  I'm just sayin'.

               

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Nice color form!  From what I understand, the species varies from white to purple, the latter was named var. purpureus by Pennell, but is regarded as a synonym for plain ol' P. cobaea.  I love the foliage on these penstemons.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Harold Peachey
Harold Peachey's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-03-22

Mark, I have been growing P. cobea v. purpureus for several years in the open garden(plants originally from Seneca Hill Perennials) and have successfully grown from seed in leaner soils around the property here in Central New York.

Harold Peachey
USDA Z5, Onondaga, NY US

penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

"Purpureus" is Pennell's name for what he considered "the most showy beard-tongue known to me". "Rocky calcareous barrens and cliffs, valley of the White River, Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri." (SETNA, p. 250.)
The regular forms, especially the pure white, are gorgeous, too, and steal the whole garden show here when in bloom. Cobaea needs lots of water here to survive.
P. cobaea, "Black or red loam, usually calcareous, Nebraska to Texas. Prairies from the Platte River of eastern Nebraska to the Colorado River in central Texas; in post-oak woods of the Coastal Plain of Texas from the Red and Sabine Rivers to the Nueces River." (SETNA, p.249)
Easy from seed, too. It seeds all over the place here. (Sorry ...) But only in regularly irrigated parts of the garden.

Bob

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

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