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in Tucson, Phoenix,
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Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, and Southern California

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Penstemon baccharifolius: Baccharisleaf Beardtongue / Rock Penstemon

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Description
Form: Woody based shrub with herbaceous stems.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen to 28°F if protected from wind.
Growth rate: Moderate to rapid.
Mature Size: 12-18" high and 6-12" wide.
Flowers: Cherry-red to pink, may be whitish inside, tubular, in clustered spikes.
Bloom: Spring into fall. For some cultivars, one plant may bloom up to four months in favorable conditions.
Fruit: Seed capsule.
Leaves: Glossy, green, thick, oval with small-toothed margins on lower stem and lance-shaped with smooth margins on upper stem. May turn purple in cold weather.
Stems: No thorns. Herbaceous on woody base.
Roots: Need shade all day.
Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds. Browsed by mammals.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Texas and Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-10. May die to ground below 28°F. Provide winter wind protection in regions with freezes using 12" high blocks to surround plant on two or three sides.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to part afternoon shade. Provide all-day shade for roots using large gravel tightly spaced.
Water once established: Once or twice a month. Avoid overwatering.
Soil: Very well drained, dry, ph 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline).
Mulch: Decomposed granite (optional). Always use large gravel, tightly spaced, to shade roots from sun.
First Year Care: Can be slow to establish. May not bloom until second year even when transplanted from a pot.
Prune: After last freeze, remove winter damage or cut nearly to ground.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed or cuttings.
Uses: Ornamental, hummingbird garden, rock garden.

Comments
Rock Penstemon likes its head in the sun and its feet in the shade. Very hardy with wind protection in freezing temperatures. Place inside rabbit-protected area. One of the easiest to grow, and most hardy penstemons in desert regions.



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