Heart Leaf Penstemon, Keckiella cordifolia, is a 3' to 6' sprawling subshrub that is evergreen in mild climates with a little watering, deciduous in winter cold or under drought stress. The flowers are tubular, red, 1"to 2" long, emerging from May to July. Native to dry slopes, cismontane (west side of the Sierra Nevada mountains) central and southern California. It likes sun to part shade, usually seen on eastern slopes in our area of central California.
Climbing Penstemon is very drought tolerant, fairly deer proof, looks like an Abelia with bright red-orange flowers. Cold tolerant to -5 degrees F or lower. Summer deciduous unless given some water. A very significant hummingbird flower. This plant spills down hillsides in cascades of summer color. Keckiella cordifolia is another one you can see from the freeway. Great in the background of a large perennial garden or above a north slope walkway in the interior or desert climates, and sunny southern slopes along the coast. In the northwest this most popular of bush Penstemons might be useful to mix with your natives as this one has dark green shiny foliage that should intermix well with many of your plants; though make sure you give it a place with air movement.
Heart Leaf Penstemon works well with Coffeeberry, Ribes or manzanitas.
Native on the SM nursery site.
Communities for Keckiella cordifolia:Chaparral and Coastal Sage Scrub.