Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Zone
Zones 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 10-13
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Penstemon strictus

Rocky Mountain Penstemon
Scrophulariaceae
Perennials

PENSTEMON

There are some 250 species of penstemon. Most are native to the West, ranging from Canada into Mexico; some grow on highest mountains, some in the desert, others in forest glades, in foothills, on plains. A few are widely available, but most are sold only by specialists. Some of the perennials described here have woody-based stems, while others are herbaceous. Most species have narrowish, pointed leaves; those in basal foliage clump are larger, those on flower stems smaller.Narrowly bell-shaped, lipped flowers (usually 3/4 to 1 1/2 in. long) are most commonly seen in bright reds and blues, but they also come in shades from soft pink through salmon and peach to deep rose, lilac, dark purple, white, and, rarely, yellow. Blossoms of some species attract hummingbirds.

Need fast drainage. Species in particular benefit from rock garden conditions. Usually short lived (3 or 4 years). Hybrids and selections tend to be easier to grow than wild species alongside regular garden plants; wild kinds may die quickly if given too-rich soil and too much water. In dry years or with restricted water, however, plants of wild species may thrive.

Penstemon strictus

Native from southern Wyoming to Arizona and New Mexico. To 2–3 ft. tall, 2 ft.wide. Dark green leaves turn purplish in winter. Blooms in early summer, producing large blossoms in near-violet to brilliant bluish purple. Long lived and adaptable.

You Might Also Like...

Achnatherum hymenoides

Native to dry regions of the Southwest and northward to Canada. Forms a clump 1-2 ft. tall and wide; t...

Oryzopsis hymenoides

Native to the dry regions of the Southwest and northward to Canada. Forms a clump 1–2 ft. high and wid...

Calylophus hartwegii

Grows up to 1 ft. high, 2 ft. across, with inch-wide flowers; those of ‘Sierra Sundrop‘ ar...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More

Advertisement