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Do you grown penstemon 'Dark Towers?'

FireFire North LondonPosts: 15,641
edited June 2021 in Plants
Is it floriferous?
Is it slug-proof as they say?
How ok is it with semi-shade?
Does it need a lot of staking?
What are the upsides and downsides?
Are there better tall varieties?
I have not grown penstemons before.

Thanks


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Posts

  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,577
    Have you read this? https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/penstemon-dark-towers/
    I'm growing Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red Strain’ for the first time this year, it's quite similar (and very different from all the other penstemons). I've staked it.
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 15,641
    Hi, yes, it's linked in my original post.
  • rachelQrtJHBjbrachelQrtJHBjb South BucksPosts: 808
    Yes, I do have that but couldn't find the name until I saw it at Wisley today and photographed the nameplate. How uncanny you asked this question this afternoon. Am I mistaken or did you photograph it at Wisley too?

    I have three plants that have been in my garden for 5+ years. They have slowly bulked up over that time and a self-set seedling has grown and over-wintered under a very large pittosporum.

    My advice is staking is not necessary, unless the plant puts on lots of vigorous growth if the weather is both wet and warm early on, in which case a few stems do get tall and a tad floppy. I leave the spent flower stems all winter and cut back Feb/March. It has come through some very wet and some very cold winters. In my opinion it could take some shade but I would say it benefits from full sun for at least six hours per day.

    In a nutshell, it has been a good-doer for me in a garden that must be colder that your London one. I highly recommend trying it.
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 15,641
    "Am I mistaken or did you photograph it at Wisley too?"

    No, the pic is from the GW site. I am trying to find a slug-proof, tall plant for my front garden bed. It will be good to try it. I will mix it with tall veronica and linaria.
  • pitter-patterpitter-patter Posts: 1,913
    edited June 2021
    I have planted one last year, so it’s in its first flowering year. It grows quite tall, but it’s surrounded by other plants, so I don’t stake it. I like the leaves and the flowers, it’s covered in little hairs that glow in the sunlight. I also have a very similar shorter version: Dakota Burgundy. I didn’t have any slug issues with it.

    This is Dark Towers:



  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 15,641
    edited June 2021
    @pitter-patter great pictures and colour. Thanks. I grow Bishop of Llanduff and have a dark beech hedge that this would suit well (similar coloured leaves).
    Dakota Burgundy looks great too. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will work.

  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 22,342
    It looks awful like husker which is a waste of space.  Hope it works. I would like one that colour
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 22,342
    This is what I've discovered about penstemons:
    Slugs don't eat penstemons
    I've never noticed aphids on them either
    Some are hardier than others
    Some go up like raven and some spread like heavenly blue
    All are easy to propagate.
    Most are happy enough in light dappled shade but prefer the sun
    They don't mind heavy clay
    If they don't like where they are they will move sideways doing that stem on the ground root thing and you might find them a foot away from where you planted them.

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,577
    Fire said:
    Hi, yes, it's linked in my original post.

    It was not obvious from your original post, because of the title you gave to your link. A link's title should clearly say what the linked page will be like.
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,577
    B3 said:
    It looks awful like husker which is a waste of space.  Hope it works. I would like one that colour

    Hi @B3 Not sure what "it looks awful like husker" and "a waste of space" mean in this context. Could you please explain?
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
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