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The Plant Guide

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Palmer’s penstemon

Penstemon palmeri

PEN-steh-mon PALM-er-eye Audio

A native of the Southwest, Palmer’s penstemon sports sharp, prickly, gray leaves and thrives in the harsh conditions. Snapdragon-like pale pink flowers boom in late spring or early summer, and their sweet-honey scent attracts bumblebees. Toothed, sage green leaves skirt the upright stems for the rest of the gardening season.This perennial wildflower is one of the largest penstemons. It looks good in the back of a border or as a focal point, perhaps near a path where its fragrance can be enjoyed or in an informal grouping with other native penstemons and grasses, or with other plantss that have similar maintenance and water requirements. -Katie Nicolich, Plants to know and grow, Fine Gardening issue #120

Noteworthy CharacteristicsThis native of the southwestern U.S. is drought tolerant, tall, and has fragrant flowers.

CareProvide full sun and lean, sandy, well-drained soil. Plant with the crown an inch or two above the soil surface. It will not tolerate extra water, fertilizer, or mulch. Deadhead to maintain a tidy appearance. This plant can be short-lived; allowing a few flowers to go to seed and self-sow can help prolong its stay.

PropagationFrom seed or by division.

  • Genus : Penstemon
  • Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
  • Zones : 10, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Plant Height : 3 to 6 feet
  • Characteristics : Attracts Hummingbirds, Self Seeds
  • Tolerance : Drought Tolerant
  • Moisture : Dry to Medium
  • Bloom Time : Early Summer, Late Spring
  • Light : Full Sun
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Flower Color : Pink
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
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