Smooth Penstemon, Penstemon digitalis

Smooth Penstemon

Penstemon digitalis

Benefits:
Sun Shade:
Bloom Time: Spring
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: White
Fragrance: No
Height: 2 - 3 feet
Spacing: 1 foot


Description

Smooth Penstemon (Penstemon digitalis) is a clump-forming, native perennial which typically grows 3-5 feet tall and occurs in prairies, fields, wood margins, open woods and along railroad tracks. Features white, two-lipped, tubular flowers (to 1.25 inches long) borne in panicles atop erect, rigid stems. Flowers bloom mid-spring to early summer. Basal leaves are elliptic and stem leaves are lance-shaped to oblong.

The flowering stalk eventually turns dark brown, developing numerous oval seed capsules, each containing numerous seeds. These seeds are gray, finely pitted, and irregularly angled. This inflorescence eventually falls over are the seeds have formed, helping to distribute them, but the basal leaves remain. The small seeds can also be carried aloft by the wind for short distances. The root system has short rhizomes, which often produce new plantlets around the base.

Habitats include mesic black soil prairies, openings in upland and floodplain forests, woodland borders, thickets, savannas, acid gravel seeps, pastures, and abandoned fields.

Grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Avoid wet, poorly drained soils.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Can spread somewhat aggressively in a garden setting.
Further Information

Wild Ones of the Fox Valley Area
Prairie Nursery
Wisconsin DNR
Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries