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Herbaceous Perennial

Penstemon heterophyllus 'Catherine de la Mare'
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

penstemon 'Catherine de la Mare'

'Catherine de la Mare' is a spreading, woody-based, semi-evergreen perennial to 50cm tall, with dull, bluish-green leaves and dense racemes of purplish-blue flowers 3cm long, borne on reddish stems in summer

Synonyms
Penstemon 'Catherine de la Mare'

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Blue Purple Green
Autumn Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

West–facing or South–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H4
Botanical details
Family
Plantaginaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Semi evergreen
Habit
Bushy
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

Accepted

How to grow

Cultivation

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

Propagation

Take softwood cuttings in early summer or semi-ripe cuttings in midsummer. Divide in spring or propagate by seed in late winter or spring; cultivars will not come true from seed

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Rock garden
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Coastal
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Gravel garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Wall side borders
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Best habit is encouraged by cutting back each year. Prune any winter damaged stems back hard to encourage fresh new growth from the base. After flowering, shorten flowered stems by half (unless seed is required) to encourage further flowering

Pests

Maybe susceptible to slugs, snails, aphids and leaf and bud eelworm

Diseases

May be affected by grey mould, powdery mildew and fungal leaf spot

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