Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Wek: Penstemon ‘Schoenholzeri’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Penstemon 'Schoenholzeri' (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Penstemon ‘Schoenholzeri’ (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Late summer to early autumn

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 80cm

Eventual Spread: 60cm

Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Plantaginaceae

Penstemon ‘Schoenholzeri’ is an evergreen herbaceous perennial with a clump forming erect habit. Its mid green leaves are lanceolate with mildly serrulate margins, up to 8cm long and 15mm broad. Its red flowers are bell shaped, up to 3.5cm across and appear as panicles.

Penstemon 'Schoenholzeri' Flower (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Penstemon ‘Schoenholzeri’ Flower (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Penstemon ‘Schoenholzeri’, is a cross between Penstemon ‘Friedrick Hahn’ and Penstemon ‘Southgate Gem’. Penstemon ‘Schoenholzeri’ is synonymous with Penstemon ‘Firebird’.

The etymological root of the binomial name Penstemon is derived from the Greek pente meaning ‘five’ and stemon meaning ‘stamened’. Schoenholzeri is named after Paul Schoenholzer, a Swiss grower who created this variety.

The landscape architect may find Penstemon ‘Schoenholzeri’ useful as a late flowering herbaceous perennial and may be used as part of a mixed herbaceous planting scheme.

Ecologically, Penstemon ‘Schoenholzeri’ flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given Penstemon ‘Schoenholzeri’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Penstemon 'Schoenholzeri' Leaf (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Penstemon ‘Schoenholzeri’ Leaf (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Penstemon ‘Schoenholzeri’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It dislikes wet soil during the winter months.

Penstemon ‘Schoenholzeri’  requires little maintenance. In the colder part of its range it should be cut to near ground level in winter. Large clumps may be divided in spring.

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