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Purple-black flowers on this floriferous penstemon with white shading - strong, vibrant but never sombre - mix it with pale-lemon achilleas and anthemis
- Position: full sun or partial shade
- Soil: fertile, well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: June to October
- Hardiness: frost hardy (will need winter protection in cold areas)
Elegant spikes of small, tubular, foxglove-like flowers appear from July to October among lance-shaped, bright green leaves. This easy-to-grow perennial will quickly form large, leafy clumps and is perfect for adding a splash of colour to the middle of a sunny, well-drained border. If you deadhead regularly, the flowers will persist until the first frosts. The rich, deep purple flowers of this variety contrast particularly well with purples and acid greens.
- Garden care: Remove the faded blooms regularly to prolong flowering. Apply a dry mulch around the base of the plant to protect the roots from frost damage and cut back in spring when new shoots appear low down on the stem. Lift and divide congested clumps in spring.
- Try taking cuttings in July and early August. Fill a small seed tray with coarse horticultural sand and water it well. Take the cuttings in the cool of the day, choosing non-flowering side shoots about two inches (5cm) in length. If there are flower buds, pick them off. Trim the cuttings below a node (where the leaf joint is) and remove or reduce any large leaves to lessen transpiration. Plunge them into the sand so that two-thirds of the cutting is submerged and place the tray in a cool, shady position for several weeks. Then pot up individually into compost, such as John Innes no 1. You can also leave your cuttings in situ until next spring, although they will need protection from frost.
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Comments about Penstemon 'Raven':
Keep deadheading and this plant will reward you by continuing to flower. Its deep colour has a useful place in the border.
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Q:Are these suited to patio pots? We have chimney pots to plant so am after a droopy flower.Asked on 30/8/2015 by ANNE from United Kingdom
These can be grown in good-sized pots provided they are kept well fed and watered.Answered on 1/9/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:Plants for a sunny border to compliment a tangerine coloured Rose.......
Hi, I have a newly built patio, which incorporates a 5 metre by just over 1 metre bed, south facing in full sun. (when the sun shines!) I have already purchased 8 tangerine roses which I had thought to underplant with some Alchemilla mollis... but I am at a bit of a loss. I had thought to make it very bright with the tangerine/lime colourway but maybe I need to add some dark purple leaved Heuchera? Do they like full sun? Also I would have liked some height at the back....? On the north length of the bed is the patio, on the south length are two oak sleeper holding back a raised lawn. Can you please help me, I started off doing my purchases from you but really I need some professional advice as to what will work together. The 8 rose bushes are the only purchase so far. RegardsAsked on 16/2/2010 by Heather Morss
A:Hello There, I like all your ideas and think it will look very dramatic. Both the Alchemilla and the Heucheras will flourish in full sun or partial shade so they should be absolutely fine. I would not go for anything else too tall as the roses are only reasonably compact and will prefer not to have too much competition, however you could put in a few dark purple Penstemons such as P. Raven to add a bit of height. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/perennials/penstemon-raven/classid.7316/ I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 16/2/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
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