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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - March 19, 2013

From: McKinney, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Will several Penstemon species hybridize?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have Penstemon cobaea, Penstemon triflorus, Penstemon cardinalis, and Penstemon murrayanus in my landscape. Will they hybridize with each other?

ANSWER:

Penstemons are famous for hybridizing.  There is no guarantee that any two species growing in close proximity to one another will produce hybrid offspring, but there is an excellent chance they will.  Penstemon cobaea and P. triflorus regularly cross in our gardens and they very likely also cross with P. murrayanus, though we're not sure about that.   We have not yet grown Penstemon murrayanus, but we think that it's very likely that it would also hybridize with other nearby species.

 

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