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Penstemon ‘Prairie Dusk’ (Beardtongue)

Beardtongue 'Prairie Dusk, Beard Tongue 'Prairie Dusk'

Penstemon 'Prairie Dusk'

Penstemon ‘Prairie Dusk’ is a captivating perennial, renowned for its spires of tubular, rose-purple flowers. Its resilient nature makes it a cherished addition to any garden, invoking the serene beauty of a prairie at dusk.

Penstemon ‘Prairie Dusk’: An In-depth Look

Native: This plant is a cultivar, not native but derived from species that are indigenous to North America, thereby holding characteristics well-adapted to various conditions in temperate climates.

Plant Type and Habit: As a herbaceous perennial, ‘Prairie Dusk’ has an upright, clumping growth habit. It produces several stems that culminate in eye-catching flower spikes, contributing to its vertical visual interest.

Size: ‘Prairie Dusk’ achieves an average height of 24-30 inches (60-75 cm), with a spread of about 15-18 inches (37-45 cm). Its moderate size makes it suitable for various garden roles, from borders to mass plantings.

Flowers: The glory of ‘Prairie Dusk’ lies in its profusion of tubular, rose-purple flowers. These blooms are not only visually appealing but also a source of nectar for various pollinators.

Bloom Time: Expect a vibrant display in early summer.

Foliage: The foliage consists of lance-shaped, medium green leaves, which form a low mound beneath the flowering spikes. The leaves remain an attractive feature even when the plant is not in bloom.

Uses: Ideal for borders, cottage gardens, pollinator gardens, or as a standalone specimen, ‘Prairie Dusk’ also fares well in containers. Its cut flowers are a stunning addition to floral arrangements.

Pollinators: Penstemon is attractive to various pollinators, especially bees, and hummingbirds, drawn to their nectar-rich flowers.

Toxicity: Penstemons are not known for being toxic to humans or pets. Still, it’s always good practice to prevent ingestion and supervise pets and young children in any garden setting.

Deer and Rabbit: An advantage of ‘Prairie Dusk’ is its resistance to deer and rabbits, which tend to bypass it in favor of tastier treats in the garden.

Drought: Once established, ‘Prairie Dusk’ shows a notable degree of drought tolerance, though it prefers consistent moisture. Its drought resistance makes it a candidate for water-wise gardens.

Penstemon Growing Tips

Light: Full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun per day). Tolerates light shade.

Soil: Well-drained soil is crucial. Penstemons prefer rocky or sandy lean soils rather than rich garden loam. Avoid overly moist, poorly drained soils.

Water: Water well until plants are established. Once established, Penstemons tolerate some drought. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Over-watering or wet soils can lead to root rot.

Fertilizer: Penstemon plants generally do not require heavy fertilization and can thrive in relatively lean soil conditions. However, providing them with a light application of an organic fertilizer in the fall can help boost their growth and flowering potential.

Pruning: Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming. Cut back plants in late autumn or early spring to promote vigorous growth.

Mulching: Mulching Penstemon can help regulate ground temperature and suppress weed growth. Choose a mulch that does not hold water. Use organic materials like shredded bark, compost, or pine straw. Avoiding direct contact with the stems to prevent rot and pest issues.

Propagation: Propagate by softwood cuttings in early summer, semi-hardwood cuttings in midsummer, or by division in spring

Pests and Diseases: No serious pest or disease issues, but watch for slugs, snails, and nematodes. Fungal diseases can occur in overly wet conditions; ensure good air circulation and avoid overhead watering to prevent issues like powdery mildew, leaf spot, and root rot. Rust can cause small, rust-colored pustules on leaves and stems, leading to defoliation and stunted growth.

Penstemon: How to Grow and Care with Success


Properly growing Penstemon ensures robust, vibrant blooms and foliage, enhances garden biodiversity by attracting pollinators, prevents disease, and maintains plant health. Thriving plants provide longer-lasting beauty and environmental benefits, contributing positively to local ecosystems and the aesthetic value of your landscape.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 8
Climate Zones 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Penstemon
Common names Penstemon, Beardtongue
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early)
Height 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 15" - 18"
(40cm - 50cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Salt, Rabbit, Dry Soil
Attracts Bees, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers, Wall-Side Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Coastal Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden, Prairie and Meadow, Traditional Garden
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Penstemon (Beardtongue)
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Penstemon pallidus (Pale Beardtongue)
Penstemon pseudospectabilis (Desert Beardtongue)
Penstemon parryi (Parry’s Beardtongue)
Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’ (Foothill Beardtongue)
Penstemon ‘Evelyn’ (Beardtongue)
Penstemon ovatus (Eggleaf Beardtongue)

Recommended Companion Plants

Salvia (Sage)
Achillea (Yarrow)
Echinacea (Coneflower)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

35 Flowering Shrubs That Thrive in Full Sun
Penstemon and Pollinators: A Harmonious Dance in the Garden
Thriving in Thirst: Colorful Penstemons for Water-Wise Landscapes
Penstemon: How to Grow and Care with Success
Penstemon (Beardtongue)
For the Love of Bees: Best Flowers to Attract them to Your Garden
How to Cultivate a Thriving Bee-Friendly Garden
Best Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 8
Climate Zones 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Penstemon
Common names Penstemon, Beardtongue
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early)
Height 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 15" - 18"
(40cm - 50cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Salt, Rabbit, Dry Soil
Attracts Bees, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers, Wall-Side Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Coastal Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden, Prairie and Meadow, Traditional Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Penstemon (Beardtongue)
Not sure which Penstemon (Beardtongue) to pick?
Compare Now

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