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PENSTEMON grandiflorus (War Axe Strain)

Image of Penstemon grandiflorus (War Axe Strain)

Family

Scrophulariaceae

Botanical Name

PENSTEMON grandiflorus( War Axe Strain)

Plant Common Name

Large Beardtongue, War Axe Beardtongue

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

A short-lived perennial wildflower, the War Axe Strain of large beardtongue provides ample beauty in both its foliage and deeply colored flowers. This deep taproot plant is native to the American Great Plains and prairies, from North Dakota to Wyoming, Texas and Illinois. However, it may have some genes from another southern Great Plains beardtongue species, which allowed for development of richer flower colors. War Axe beardtongues become narrow, towering specimens in sunny, low-fertility and fast-draining soils. While short-lived, they produce lots of seeds that germinate to perpetuate the wildflowers in a location.

The ghostly, grayish-green leaves are thick and leathery and occur in opposite pairs on the upright plant stem. In the first year after sprouting, the beardtongue is a basal rosette of foliage. In the second year's summer, the plant sends up one or two flower stems. The leaf bases clasp onto this stem. At the top of the stem, arising from numerous leaf bases, are one or two flowers that are either maroon, violet-purple, rose or crimson. A blossom is tubular-funnel shaped, attracting long-tongue bees for pollination. Each blossom is rather short-lived in the three-week-long blooming season from late spring to early summer. The flower season is a bit later in cold winter regions.

Grow Wax Strain beardtongues in full to partial sun. The soil needs to be rather low fertility and have excellent drainage. Shade, soggy soil and overly rich soil kills this perennial quickly. While fleeting for use in a mixed border, where you want the plant to remain in a definite location, beardtongue is exceptional in naturalistic landscapes. Scatter seeds or establish young container plants in a rocky meadow, roadside verge or gritty-soil hillside to establish. Over time the plants will pop up hear and there across the garden.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 10

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    24"-35" / 61.0cm - 88.9cm

  • Width

    10"-16" / 25.4cm - 40.6cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    North-Central United States, Central United States, Western United States, Texas

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Purple, Fuchsia, Rose, Burgundy, Crimson, Dark Red, Violet, Blue Violet, Plum

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes