narrow bell shaped flowers of the Penstamon
Photo: Courtesy White Flower Farm
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(P. digitalis)

Penstamon is often called beard tongue because of the pronounced tongue on its narrow, bell-shaped flowers. The popular 'Husker Red' has maroon leaves and light pink flowers. 'Dark Towers' is an even more robust and brilliantly colored variety of P. digitalis, which in its basic form is a native of the eastern and central U.S.

Both of these varieties grow 2½-3 feet tall; other varieties can reach as tall as 5 feet. Prefers full sun but tolerates light shade; regular water. Perennial in zones 3-8.
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