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Penstemon digitalis (foxglove beard-tongue, foxglove beardtongue, or talus slope penstemon) is a plant in the plantain family, Plantaginaceae. The flowers are white and are borne in summer. It is native to eastern Canada and eastern and southeastern United States.
Penstemon digitalis grows 3 to 5 foot tall with shiny green leaves, on slender, red, purple or green stems (variable). The leaves are up to 5 inches long.
It is called beardtongue because the plant has a fifth stamen which resembles a hairy beard due to having small hairs. The plant grows in moist, sandy soil in full sun in meadows, prairies, fields, wood margins, open woods and along railroad tracks. Its bloom period is from late spring to early summer. The plant is known to attract, butterflies, and birds such as hummingbirds.
Like other Penstemon species, it is used in roadside planting because it is easily grown and showy. It is recommended for easy use in gardens from the Midwest to the Atlantic coast and Pacific Northwest by the American Penstemon Society. Iowa's Living Roadway Profiler from the Iowa Department of Transportation says that the plant's "decorative seed capsules add interest in the fall and winter".
Hardiness zones: 6-11
Height: 1m or 40"
Location: Sun or part sun
Seeds per pack: 30
Germination: As with many perennial seeds, these seeds can benefit from a period of moist cold to help them grow. This is done by giving them a cold 'winter' period (artificial or natural), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:
Obtain a planting container that has holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. Place the seeds just under the surface of your growing medium, and water. Place your container in a cold area (but not freezing, perhaps a refrigerator) for 4-6 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container at room temperature for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Seedlings will sprout a few weeks, or occasionally several months, after the warming period.
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