Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Foxglove Penstemon
Penstemon digitalis 'Husker's Red'

Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Penstemon (PEN-stem-on) (Info)
Species: digitalis (dig-ee-TAH-liss) (Info)
Cultivar: Husker's Red

14 vendors have this plant for sale.

55 members have or want this plant for trade.

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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 29 photos.
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18 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Feb 28, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

One of the few Penstemons that's long-lived in eastern N. America. It needs only ordinary garden conditions and not rock-garden soil. Self-sows here more than I'd like, but it's a decent garden plant that makes a decent evergreen groundcover. The flowers are nice but the season of bloom lasts only about two weeks here in Boston MA Z6a. The seed capsules and stems are ornamental into the winter.

'Husker Red' is a seed strain with burgundy-tinted stems and new foliage. I find it more attractive than the species. Both kinds have attractive evergreen basal foliage and good fall color.

Positive JonthanJ On Oct 18, 2011, JonthanJ from Logansport, IN wrote:

Planted out last year in the pit run gravel scree I put in on the north side of my driveway, these did very well. Cleaning them up in the middle of October, I found a half dozen congested shoots up as much as 6" on the stems pushing to grow roots, very much like similar growths I used to propagate my Becky Shasta Daisies.

The different clumps vary considerably in size. I suspect that they are displaying typical differences within a batch of seedlings.

Positive groggyfrog On Aug 4, 2010, groggyfrog from Calgary
Canada (Zone 3b) wrote:

Started this plant from seed last year and it has really taken off this year. I planted it mainly for the lovely foliage colour but the flowers are a bonus. It stands about 2' tall and is not floppy at all.

Positive Bookerc1 On May 31, 2010, Bookerc1 from Mackinaw, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

One of my new favorites. Looks stunning with a redbud tree, as the foliage is burgundy in the spring. Blooms in May here in Central IL. Also nice with Queen of Night tulips and Plum Pudding Heuchera.

It did get significantly taller than I expected. I need to move it to the back of the border, as it is now over 4 feet tall. I guess it likes my lasagna garden.

Positive jcpooh On May 12, 2010, jcpooh from Atlanta, GA wrote:

Last year I planted 5 of these in my sunny front yard (Atlanta). They did nothing, no blooms and barely any new leaves. I threatened to yank them out of the ground if they didn't perform well this year. They must have heard me because they have absolutley exploded! Starting in March I saw new leaf growth and by late April they were in full, glorious bloom. Very glad I kept them.

Positive shadydame On Jun 22, 2009, shadydame from North Walpole, NH (Zone 5a) wrote:

This was one of the first perennials I ever planted, and has performed consistently for each of the 3 years it has been in my garden. I love how the green foliage turns red! An excellent, low-maintenance plant.

Positive kmchitchat On May 23, 2009, kmchitchat from Euless, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant is pretty year round, but of course at it's peak in the late spring/early summer when it flowers. It's VERY drought resistant and matures nicely.

Positive CaptMicha On Jun 10, 2008, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Planted in part sun. Does very well. Evergreen in winter here in zone 7. It's unfazed by our heat wave (90+ Fahrenheit daytime), drought, wet feet or humidity. The only problem is that my plants are leaning and will have to be staked.

It's June here and they're already in flower since late May.

Positive kd2000 On Nov 17, 2007, kd2000 from toronto
Canada wrote:

Beautiful plant, low maintenance, easy to transplant in spring, and very attractive to hummingbirds when in flower. Planted in mass it provides a nice early flower display and the foliage slowly darkens and reddens over the season to provide continual interest. I find the foliage of volunteers and those grown from seed are slower to redden and appear quite green initially, but darken up over time in my zone 4/5 garden.

Positive Marilynbeth On Nov 21, 2006, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

Beautiful plant and flowers! Love it!

Positive lego_brickster On Aug 24, 2006, lego_brickster from Lawrenceville, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is an extremely durable plant. These have survived two winters potted on my second story garage roof (unheated).
They do equally well in the garden. The more sun they have, the darker the leaves get.

Positive Gabrielle On Jan 16, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I love the contrasting colors of 'Husker's Red'. It goes nicely with so many combinations and self seeds just enough. Blooms May-June in my garden.

Positive bigcityal On Dec 10, 2005, bigcityal from Menasha, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Carefree plant with nice late season flowering - sort of a must have.

Positive russkiypenguin On Jul 4, 2005, russkiypenguin from Belton, MO wrote:

Planted three of them in Missouri clay soil with no improvements. Then I ignored them for a year. All three of them did wonderfully and bloomed this year.

Positive sterhill On Jun 8, 2005, sterhill from Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Lovely plant - nice color even when not blooming. Last year, I cut the flower stalks back and said 'hummm - looks like these would root." I cut back each stalk so that I had a piece of stem about 3-4" long with two leaves on top and just stuck these around the garden to see what would happen. Out of about 20, I got 6 plants this year and 2 are blooming. I expect I would have more if I had used root hormone and nice little pots with good black dirt. I'll try the suggestion of using the 'non-blooming side shoots' this year. That has answered very well with the wallflowers.

Neutral daisyavenue On Sep 2, 2004, daisyavenue from Long Beach, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

To propagate by cutting, use the non-blooming side shoots. Lower leaves should be removed and the stem placed in soil.

They can be overwintered in a cold frame using this method. Allow some ventilation on more mild days.

Positive smiln32 On May 9, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Gorgeous foliage. Nice contrast to the sedums I have nearby. Already starting to flower (May 04). It's interesting that I have three of these plants and all three are in different stages of growth. I can't seem to figure out what is causing it, either. Must be something in the soil I'm not aware of. They're all in full sun.

Positive KRISBILL On May 9, 2004, KRISBILL from Dresden, OH wrote:


Positive Terry On Aug 31, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Easy-to-grow plant, and cold hardy (at least this far north.) It's almost treasonous to grow this plant (named for the Nebraska Cornhuskers) within the geographic confines of the Southeastern Conference, but what can I say?


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama
Gadsden, Alabama
Anchorage, Alaska
Dewey, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Clayton, California
Long Beach, California
Sacramento, California
Boulder, Colorado
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Denver, Colorado (2 reports)
Hotchkiss, Colorado
Loveland, Colorado
Centerbrook, Connecticut
Mansfield Center, Connecticut
Athens, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia
Augusta, Georgia
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Grayslake, Illinois
Itasca, Illinois
Mackinaw, Illinois
Macomb, Illinois
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Niles, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Yorkville, Illinois
Greenville, Indiana
Logansport, Indiana
Petersburg, Indiana
Iowa City, Iowa
Mc Gregor, Iowa
Nichols, Iowa
Pacific Junction, Iowa
Sioux Center, Iowa
Baldwin City, Kansas
Olathe, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas
Ewing, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Bossier City, Louisiana
North Yarmouth, Maine
Brookeville, Maryland
Edgewater, Maryland
Dracut, Massachusetts
Haydenville, Massachusetts
Reading, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Springfield, Massachusetts
Belleville, Michigan
Mason, Michigan
Traverse City, Michigan
Hopkins, Minnesota
Kasota, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota (3 reports)
New Ulm, Minnesota
Remer, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Batesville, Mississippi
Maben, Mississippi
Belton, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
Carson City, Nevada
Hanover, New Hampshire
North Walpole, New Hampshire
Freehold, New Jersey
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Pennsauken, New Jersey
Verona, New Jersey
Whitehouse Station, New Jersey
Farmington, New Mexico
Bronx, New York
Brooklyn, New York
Buffalo, New York
Croton On Hudson, New York
Jefferson, New York
North Tonawanda, New York
Cary, North Carolina
Clemmons, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina (2 reports)
Garner, North Carolina
Fargo, North Dakota
Cincinnati, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Dresden, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Hamilton, Ohio
Toledo, Ohio
Warren, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon
Walterville, Oregon
Blain, Pennsylvania
Lansdowne, Pennsylvania
Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania
Millerstown, Pennsylvania
New Freedom, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Okatie, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Cordova, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Sevierville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Belton, Texas
Desoto, Texas
Euless, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Garland, Texas
League City, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah (2 reports)
Santaquin, Utah
Arlington, Virginia
Blacksburg, Virginia
Hood, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Newport News, Virginia
Scottsville, Virginia
Sterling, Virginia
Suffolk, Virginia
Chimacum, Washington
Clinton, Washington
Gold Bar, Washington
Kent, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Redmond, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Augusta, Wisconsin
Birchwood, Wisconsin
Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Holmen, Wisconsin
Lake Delton, Wisconsin
Menasha, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2 reports)
Porterfield, Wisconsin

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