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Regional Picks: Plants for Winter’s Worst – Mountain West

Fine Gardening - Issue 149


Mountain West


Jupiter’s beard (Centranthus ruber)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 8

Size: 3 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun; poor to average, well-drained soil

Jupiter’s beard is a durable perennial that handles our region’s windy winters with grace. A milky fluid coursing through its cambium layer acts as an antifreeze during cold spells while also slowing water loss in summer. It is listed as a Zone 5 plant, but in my experience, it can survive Zone 4 winters. It produces dome-shaped clusters of dark pink flowers on 2- to 3-foot-tall stems in late spring. Expect reseeding.


Pineleaf penstemon (Penstemon pinifolius)

Zones: 4 to 10

Size: 16 inches tall and 10 inches wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

Pineleaf penstemon evolved to endure cold winters and hot, dry summers in nutrient-poor soils. Narrow film-covered leaves defend the plant from wind and sun by limiting water loss. When not in bloom, this evergreen…

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