Saxapahaw, NC

The Flower of Carolina

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  • Product Info

    Small's Penstemon (Penstemon smallii)
    Plantain Family

    Small’s Penstemon is one of the showiest and longest blooming Penstemons in the Eastern US. Rich purple-pink flowers bloom during the transition from spring into summer for over 4 weeks, with some re-blooming occurring later in the season. Tubular flowers are a pollinator favorite--bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and wasps can all be seen foraging for nectar. Dark green foliage contrasts beautifully with the flowers and is evergreen in most climates. Overwintering basal foliage takes on strong purple hues and provides shelter for small animals and the soil in winter.This species is endemic to the southern Appalachians and will be happiest growing in part shade to part sun. It has a high drought tolerance and will grow well in rocky soil. Plants are short lived, but an abundance of seed is produced for plenty of future plants. Its compact size and evergreen basal foliage make this a great groundcover, front border plant, or filler plant.Looks great in a woodland garden with sedges and ferns or the sunny pollinator garden with Thimbleweed, Amsonia, and Blue-eyed Grass.

    Blooms: Purple, 4-5 weeks, May-June
    Leaves: Semi-evergreen, dark green shiny leaves with purple leaf veins
    Height: 1-2
    Space: 1-2
    Soil: Average-dry, tolerates drought and rocky soil
    Exposure: Part shade-Full sun
    Fauna: Bees , wasps, hummingbirds, and flies, seeds for birds, butterfly host plant
    Seeds: Oblong capsule with numerous tiny seeds
    Deer Resistance: Medium
    Zone: 5-8
    Native Status: NC native, common in the mountains, uncommon in the Piedmont
    Provenance: NC ecotype, seed grown