Better, we think, than Mystica or, indeed, the famous Husker's Red, the semi-evergreen leaves of Penstemon Dark Towers have a reliable dark reddish purple colouring which attractively sets off the sprays of pale pinky lavender tubular flowers that appear on tall stems through the summer. And we love the evocative name, though we are not sure whether it owes more to Stephen King or JRR Tolkien. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 36 in. 9cm pot.


Dale Lindgren of the University of Nebraska is the man responsible for the well-known strain Husker’s Red and in Dark Towers he has, we think, improved on that already good garden plant. The flowers are pinkish rather than white, but it’s the reliable red to purple flush that remains consistent through the seasons that we like best about it. Terra Nova Nurseries got Dark Towers to market around a decade ago and its popularity has increased year on year ever since. It is regularly in our top sellers for the season. When it was featured on a television programme about one of the RHS shows, Rob’s phone nearly jumped off the arm of his chair as the orders came flooding in!

Penstemons are native to the Americas, growing in habitats ranging from plains to mountainous areas. The genus name refers to the five stamens possessed by each flower. The common name of beardtongue can be understood when you peer in at the unusual sterile stamen within each flower which has a tuft of small hairs.

Yes - Penstemon Dark Towers is the best of the red-leaved penstemons to date. Gets to a good size so makes an emphatic statement in the summer garden. David Wilson of Garden Splendor Plants clearly agrees with us, as you can see in this short video.

Trim back to around half height in autumn then more severely in early spring.

Penstemon Dark Towers is a hardy evergreen perennial plant with purple red leaves and pinkish white flowers in summer and autumn suitable for sun or semi-shade.

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