Penstemon - Huskers Red
This has been a plant collector's item for decades. Husker Red is an unusual Penstemon offering maroon-red, occasionally bronze-green foliage when grown from seed. This is coupled with contrasting spikes of blushed pink flowers making useful late summer colour for borders.
Sow from February to April in pots or trays of moist seed compost and cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Seal container inside a polythene bag and keep at a constant temperature of between 15-20C. After sowing, do not exclude light as this helps germination. Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged; germination can take 1 to 4 months. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings into 7.5cm pots or trays. Plant out once plants are well grown, 3cm apart. For best results, provide a fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. Plants will prove reliably hardy if wet winter conditions are avoided.