Photo: Blackstem Plants
Penstemon barbatus 'Jingle Bells'
The barbatus species are all native to the dry, rocky hillsides of Utah, Arizona, Texas and Mexico where they grow like weeds.
'Jingle Bells' is a seed raised cultivar that is most definitely not a weed but a splendid tall perennial for the well drained herbaceous border.
Drainage is essential, prolonging the life span of these relatively short lived plants. Thankfully, they do self seed.
The long, graceful flower spikes carry bell-shaped flowers of bright scarlet throughout the summer and they also make a wonderful cut flower.
In the States, it's planted to attract hummingbirds but here in the UK bees flock to the rich source of nectar.
Penstemon is Greek for five stamens, four are fertile and one is sterile. The common name of beard tongue arises as the sterile stamen has a tuft of small hairs.
Orange - red
Sharp drainage, light