Losing my Husker Red penstemon...

alison(6b/OH)June 6, 2013

...to my cat!

What is it with Husker Red penstemon and cats?!?

In my last garden I tried several times to grow this. I'd had great success with other penstemons, and I love the Husker Red contrast of smoldering burgundy and green leaves with the crisp white flowers. But the cat I had then had a serious crush on this plant. He'd chew on it, frothing a little at the mouth. Once he'd killed it, he dug up the roots, and rolled in them, going into an ecstasy most cats reserve for high grade catnip. You couldn't interrupt him without eliciting grows and threats, and afterwards he had to sleep it off. Never touched any other penstemon, or any other plant, for that matter.

New garden, new cats, and I potted up a half dozen seedlings from the garden center to put on some more heft before I plant them out in the front yard. My longhair cat couldn't care less, but my Siamese will carefully pick his way thru the bakers rack of seedlings in recycled water bottles, grab the Husker Red, drag it out and gnaw on it. Over and over and over....

Anybody else have this problem?

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Alison, I had a husker red some time ago which just up'n'died for some reason. I never noticed the cat around it; they all hung out around the nepeta (including the cat form the neighbor 2 doors down). Maybe it was a cat that killed it and I just didn't notice. I haven't tried one since.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 8:34PM
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With some trepidation I went ahead and planted it in my front garden. We've got a ton of semi-feral cats in this neighborhood and the last thing I want is a bunch of drooling, crazed penstemon-hopheads rolling around in my yard.

Of course, that might be better than having them poop in the mulch, which is what they did last year....

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 2:28PM
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I'm scratching my head at the posted comments and how cats find our Husker variety irresistible--- My problem is finding a way to get my sad plant to actually grow.
It languishes here in fun sun , average fertility, air circulation, sheltered. I've thrown the book at it.
So, I tried moving it nearby with richer soil, same aspect and hoped for the best, Oh, I threw some gravel at the bottom of the hole for drainage-- Anybody know why it's stubborn ? thanks

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 7:45PM
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