BLUE SHOWY BEARDTONGUE Penstemon spectabilis

BLUE SHOWY BEARDTONGUE Penstemon spectabilis

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Penstemon spectabilis is a species of penstemon known by the common Name showy penstemon. It is native to southern California and Baja California, where it grows in the chaparral, scrub, and woodlands of the coastal mountain ranges.

Penstemon spectabilis is a perennial herb growing erect to a maximum height often exceeding one meter. The thin leaves are lance-shaped to oval, serrated on the edges, and up to 10 centimeters in length. The oppositely arranged pairs may fuse about the stem at the bases. The inflorescence bears wide-mouthed tubular purple-blue flowers which may be over 3 centimeters long. The throat is lighter in color, lavender to nearly white, and hairless inside.

This plant is often a pioneer species in habitat recently disturbed. It is pollinated by wasps such as Pseudomasaris vespoides, as well as by hummingbirds.

Type: hardy perennial

Height: 1 m, 30"

Location: Sun or part sun

Hardiness zones: Perennial in zones 6-11

Seeds per pack: 20

Germination: As with many perennial seeds, these seeds benefit from a period of moist cold to help them begin to 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 on the surface of your growing medium, and water. Be sure not to bury the seeds as they require light to germinate. Place your container in a cold area (but not freezing, perhaps a refrigerator) for 4-6 weeks (light is not required at this point). Once the cold period is completed, place the container in a bright room, 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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