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California Penstemons that grow in DRY areas

Yearly rainfall from 10 inches to 40 inches

These Penstemons like 10 to 40 inches of rainfall without added water! They can tolerate a little water to get established. After that leave them alone! They actually like dry summers and generally arid conditions. They do not tolerate garden conditions well. Most do great with sages, buckwheats, and other dry loving plants. These Penstemons are not good for coastal areas or areas with high rainfall or humidity. If this is you go to:

The California Penstemons that like MOIST conditions or plant Penstemon Margarita BOP.
Penstemon spectablis, pseudospectablis, and centranthifolius with a few poppies and you have color. - grid24_12
Penstemon centranthifolius Scarlet Bugler. Penstemon pseudospectabilis, Pink Showy Penstemon and Penstemon spectabilis, Showy Penstemon does not get watered and is surviving happily on 15 inches of rainfall.
Penstemon eatonii, Firecracker Penstemon.

This Penstemon is similar to Scarlet burglar but more cold tolerant. The flower clusters are denser and the leaves are rounder and less gray. It is also a good hummingbird plant. It grows 2 to 3ft tall.
This Penstemon can grow at 8000ft. elevation but has also done ok in Los Angeles and along the desert edges.

Penstemon eatonii, Firecracker Penstemon  flowers - grid24_12
Penstemon eatonii, Firecracker Penstemon. flowers.
Penstemon eatonii, Firecracker Penstemon in flower - grid24_12
Penstemon eatonii, Firecracker Penstemon.
A lizards eye view of  Penstemon eatonii, Firecracker Penstemon - grid24_12
Penstemon eatonii, Firecracker Penstemon leaves.
Penstemon heterophyllus , Foothill Penstemon

Foothill Penstemon is very similar to Penstemon Margarita Bop but it likes drier conditions, is taller and the flowers are more lavender. This Penstemon does the best in full sun, with shade it looks leggy. It is cold tolerant to about -10 Deg. F.(as long as the day warms up) Foothill Penstemon grows about 2 ft tall and is fairly dense (but doesn't own a large pickup, sorry, that could describe so many folks besides this plant).

Penstemon heterophyllus australis, Foothill Penstemon, attracts Checkerspot butterflies, and so creates a living garden painting. - grid24_12
Penstemon heterophyllus, Foothill Penstemon has flowers that vary from almost pink to deep blue. Same plant, different years. - grid24_12
Penstemon X parishii, Parish's Penstemon is a hot pink - grid24_12
Penstemon X parishii, Parish's Penstemon
Penstemon X parishii, Parish's Penstemon is a common 'problem' with the Penstemon spectabilis or centranthifolius seed. This is the love child or the two.
Balloon flower, Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri) has a wonderful fragrant flower that both the hummingbirds and bumblebees use. - grid24_12
Penstemon palmeri, Balloon Flower Balloon flower really is a beautiful flower. It looks kind of like foxglove. It is called balloon flower because the flowers are so large and round. When it is flowering, the plant is around 3 ft tall. It grows in a similar habitat as P. incertus. It is very drought tolerant.

Penstemon pseudospectabilis, Desert penstemon

This pink showy Penstemon is a large Penstemon. It is a big hit with the hummingbirds. The flower color is hard to describe. It is very deep pink. It really stands out. It produces a mass of flowers in late spring. Desert Penstemon is very drought tolerant. It hasn't been watered since it was planted.

Penstemon pseudospectabilis been visited by an Anna Hummingbird - grid24_12

Penstemon spectabilis, Showy Penstemon

Showy Penstemon can reach 4 ft tall!  It is very drought tolerant, thriving on our 15 inches of rainfall. It looks better in full sun, tending to get leggy when it is given shade.Showy Penstemon will tolerate clays, but commonly loves decomposed granite.

Penstemon spectabilis, Showy Penstemon is a natural in a large perennial garden. You can still have a perennial garden with no water, just use native plants. - grid24_12
Penstemon spectabilis, Showy Penstemon
Penstemon thurberi. Thurber's Penstemon - grid24_12
Penstemon thurberi, Desert Surprise.
Penstemon utahensis. Utah Penstemon - grid24_12
Penstemon utahensis, Utah Penstemon
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Edited on Jul 11, 2013. Authors:
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