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Penstemon tenuis

Penstemon tenuis
Gulf Coast penstemon
Penstemon tenuis
A bee enjoying this penstemon's bounty

Common name Gulf Coast penstemon
Family plantaginaceae
Life cycle perennial (Z7-10)
Flowers lavender to violet
Size 24"
Light sun-shade
From seed Flowers first year from seed sown indoors early.
detailed seed-starting info below

Species native to the mid-southern United States, where it grows in relatively moist and heavy soils. Its mid-green leaves are shaped like long pointy arrowheads; flowers appear clustered in open panicles on wiry stems.
This is yet another penstemon that was unlikely to overwinter in our Pennsylvania garden – even ones that are supposed to be hardy usually don't (due to frost heaving or winter wet), and this one was reportedly one zone too tender for that garden as well. But hope springs eternal... and lo, we had some of our 2013 seedlings survive through our harsh 2014 winter. Better yet, the seedlings I started in winter 2014 bloomed in July, so I got to see their flowers regardless of their ability to overwinter. The photos on this page are from those first-year flowering plants. More recently, we've tried growing this penstemon while actually residing on the Gulf Coast...

In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: back fence border

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Seed-starting details for this plant

  1. Seed from NARGS '12/'13 exchange. Baggy 35F (3w) - 70F with light (76%G, 9-12d)
  2. Same seed as above, cold-stored. Baggy 35F (3w) - 70F with light (61%G, 7-15d)
  3. Same seed as above, cold-stored. Baggy 35F (3w) - 70F with light (90%G, 6-15d)

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Last modified: April 10, 2021
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