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Herbaceous Perennial

Penstemon 'Woodpecker'
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

penstemon 'Woodpecker'

An upright, clump-forming, semi-evergreen perennial to 70cm, with long, lance-shaped, mid-green leaves. Spikes of bell-shaped, purple-blue flowers with white throats marked with purple are produced from late spring to mid-autumn

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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 Blue Green
Summer Blue Green
Autumn Blue Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
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

Unresolved

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 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
  • Gravel garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Cut flowers
  • Wall side borders
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

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