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Herbaceous Perennial

Penstemon campanulatus
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

bellflower beardtongue

An upright, clump-forming, semi-evergreen perennial to 60cm, with wiry stems and dark green, toothed, lance-shaped leaves. Loose sprays of bell-shaped flowers up to 3cm long appear in early summer and are usually mid- to light purple with varying amounts of white, though red forms also occur

Synonyms
Penstemon pulchellus Lindl.
Penstemon campanulatus pulchellus
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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Loam
Chalk
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Purple Red White Green
Autumn Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Drought resistance
Yes
Hardiness
H4
Botanical details
Family
Plantaginaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Semi evergreen
Habit
Clump forming
Genus

Penstemon may be deciduous or evergreen perennials or subshrubs, with simple, narrow leaves and racemes or panicles of bell-shaped or funnel-shaped flowers in summer and early autumn

Name status

Correct

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. In cold areas, protect plant over winter with a dry mulch. See penstemon cultivation

Propagation

Propagate by seed, or by softwood cuttings in early summer or semi-ripe cuttings in midsummer

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Patio and container plants
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Regular deadheading can encourage a longer flowering season. In autumn, cut back to by about a third to tidy and reduce windrock, but leave enough to protect the crown over winter. In mid- to late spring cut back to lowest new shoots

Pests

May be susceptible to aphids and chrysanthemum eelworm

Diseases

May be susceptible to Powdery mildews

Get involved

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