Penstemon whippleanus ‘Chocolate Drop’
CHOCOLATE DROP PENSTEMON
Penstemon whippleanus ‘Chocolate Drop’ is a real “eye catcher” perennial, with dark purple-chocolate, to nearly black flowers, and throats with natty cream pinstripes.
So ‘Chocolate Drop’ is a charmer that’s makes a big statement with every blooming.
Showy and low maintenance
This choice plant is a late flowering species, with each lot of flowers arranged in a ring around the stem. So the flowers are pointing gaily in all directions, but all slightly drooping downwards.
Easy to grow from seed
And it is hardy performer that is very easy to grow from seed and easy to grow in the garden.
And it is very low maintenance, as it forms a hardy, neat evergreen clump that requires little to no attention.
Usually the only task could possibly be to trim off spent flower stems if you wish, but the flowers usually just disappear away by themselves.
Happily it is not particularly plagued by any pests or diseases.
Hardy no fuss in poor sites
Penstemon whippleanus ‘Chocolate Drop’ is very suitable for a range of garden conditions, as it enjoys arid soils and shrugs off windy sites.
Similarly it thrives in gardens with sandy, rocky, gravel or poor soil.
Plus it is a water-wise plant, naturally adapted to climates where moisture may be on short ration.
SEED SOWING ADVICE: QUICK & EASY
Sow Penstemon whippleanus ‘Chocolate Drop’ indoors at any time / or scatter outdoors in spring & autumn.
INDOORS: Sow seeds in punnets on surface of good quality seed raising mix.
Then press the seeds gently into the surface of the mix to insure seeds are in good contact with the mix. Don’t cover the seeds with mix. Because these seeds need light to germinate.
Now keep your seed punnet moist in a warm, well-lit position.
A warm window sill or well lit corner is perfect (but not in direct sunlight).
You can use a temperature controlled heat mat if you have one.
Temperatures of 15-20°C are optimum for rapid and thorough germination.
Seedlings emerge in 7-15 days approx.
Penstemon whippleanus ‘Chocolate Drop’ seeds are usually very quick and easy to raise.
But if they are shy to sprout – the seeds need chilling to break dormancy.
So wrap moist punnet in cling wrap (or a plastic bag) & place in fridge (not freezer) for 4-6 weeks. Unwrap the moist punnet & return to a well-lit position at 15-20°C.
Keep moist. Seedlings emerge in approx. 7-15 days.
SEED COUNT: 100 seeds per pack approx.
(We always aim to exceed the stated seed count, and give a generous serve).
GROWING: Penstemon whippleanus ‘Chocolate Drop’
– Height with flowers: 60cm approx.
– Width: 40cm approx.
– Position: Will tolerate Partial Shade but will grow better in a Full Sun position and will flower more profusely.
– Soil: Prefers a Well Drained soil although it will tolerate a range of soil conditions.
– Fragrance: None but the showy blooms make up for that.
– Frost: Hardy
– Growth: Herbaceous Perennial
– Attracts: Birds, bees and other benificial pollinators.
– Care: easy minimal care and low maintenance.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Known to be a good deer and rabbit resistant plant. As these nibbling pests usually find Penstemons rather interesting, because of the hairy texture.
– Origin: In 1853; Penstemon whippleanus was collected by John Bigelow in the Sandia Mountains (near present-day Albuquerque, New Mexico). So no wonder it naturally has such a hardy and tough constitution.