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Showy Penstemon – A Favorite

Over the years I’ve been asked dozens of times what my favorite prairie species is. The answer is Penstemon grandiflorus, commonly known as Showy penstemon. I can’t definitively say why I answer the question this way but I do. Maybe it’s because of the early season bloom in late May and early June. It could be the color, as this one is vibrant and easy to pick out. The waxy blueish-green foliage really jumps out at you as does the large purple flower. Some of you may have noticed that Showy penstemon is featured on this year’s PRI catalog.

From a seed production standpoint, Penstemon grandiflorus does have its challenges. This plant migrates around it’s production fields more actively than any other species. This makes it a bit more difficult to establish a consistent and manageable production plot.

Showy penstemon is a great pollinator plant and would make a wonderful addition to nearly any site with dry, well-drained soils. Whether you have a favorite native species or not, give my favorite a closer look. I bet you will appreciate its beauty.

Jim Johnasen
Native Seed Production Manager
Bluestem Farm
Glyndon, MN