Penstemon ‘Strawberries & Cream’
STRAWBERRIES & CREAM BEARDTONGUE
Penstemon ‘Strawberries & Cream’ is a happy chance seedling, as it was accidently produced by the bees romping around our Penstemon beds.
When it flowered so spectacularly last summer we were so glad we had not got around to weeding it out.
A penstemon to be proud of
Large strawberry pink trumpets, flaring around creamy throats, are stacked all through summer up 75cm spires.
“Landing stripes” for visiting pollinators prettily decorate all the creamy throats.
A wonderful cut flower
Every one of the hundreds of trumpets is a valuable feed station for bees, nectar sipping native birds and butterflies.
Cut stems of flowers are excellent in a vase and last for at least a week.
So you are doing two good jobs at once by cutting out whole stems for the vase, as cutting also promotes yet more flowering.
Easy to grow & low maintenance plant.
‘Strawberries & Cream’ has rude health and hybrid vigour – producing a long blooming season with new flower stems developing right through the warmer months.
Such vigour makes it a very unfussy, easy to grow, and low maintenance plant.
These hybrid Penstemons are more tolerant of heat, and bouts of dry over summer, than the lavish beauty of their flowers would lead you to believe. So ‘Strawberries & Cream’ is truly a water-wise plant.
Nor does it require loads of fertilizer or attention, because flower production is even better if it is kept a little hungry.
More leaf growth at the expense of flowers is a result of over-feeding.
Not a bit fussy
Penstemon ‘Strawberries & Cream’ can be planted in Full Sun or Part Shade and it really does not mind about soil type, as long as it is well drained.
It can cope with poorer, stony or sandy soil well; but does not enjoy heavy wet clay.
Hybrid Penstemons like this one, cope well in windy and exposed sites. Because they have adapted to this in their prairie native habitats.
Growing: Penstemon ‘Strawberries & Cream’
– Height with flowers: 75cm. approx.
– Width: 45cm approx.
– Position: Full Sun to Part Shade.
– Soil: Enjoys well drained soil, as it will not tolerate wet soils over winter. Actually will flower better in soils that are not too rich. It is quite tolerant of poorer, gravel and sandy soils.
– Fragrance: None.
– Frost: Very hardy to at least -10C and below.
– Growth: Evergreen perennial.
Loved by Wildlife
– Beneficial for wildlife: Native honey-eating birds, bees, butterflies and other useful pollinators, revel in collecting nectar and pollen from the trumpet flowers.
– Care: Easy care & low maintenance. Prune older stems that have finished flowering hard, at the end of winter, to encourage fresh, repeat flowering new stems to come from the base.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Usually not first choice for these pests.
An interesting History
– Origin: Native to North America. Where they grow in a range of habitats but often in prairie environments. Although lovely ‘Strawberries & Cream’ was an accidental seedling produced by the bees in our garden. Fortunately it flowered and was spotted before we had a chance to weed it out.
– Traditional uses: The North American Indians knew a thing or two about Penstemons, as they were such common plants in their natural world. First nations peoples used them in daily life. The woody roots were used as a cure for toothache, for pain relief, and treatment to stop bleeding. While blue flowered varieties were used for making blue dye for painting moccasins and leather clothing.