Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Penstemon eatonii:
Firecracker Penstemon

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Form: Herb.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Growth rate: Moderate to rapid.
Mature Size: 2' high and 2' wide.
Flowers: Bright red, long, narrow, tubular, arrayed on a stalk.
Bloom: Spring, summer and fall. It blooms at intervals over much of the year especially in response to rain. This plant blooms in its second year when grown from seed.
Fruit: Seed capsule.
Leaves: Green, lance-shaped, in pairs, clasping and surrounding its stem on opposite sides. The bottom leaves are ovate.
Stems: No thorns. Green.
Roots: Fibrous, not invasive.
Wildlife: The flowers attract hummingbirds. The seed attracts birds. Browsed by mammals.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: California through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 4-10.
Heat tolerant: Yes, although it does best in part shade in the hottest months of the year.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to part shade.
Water once established: Monthly during drought. Do not overwater.
Soil: Well drained, dry, pH 6.1-8.5 (slightly acidic to alkaline).
Mulch: Decomposed granite or small gravel.
Prune: After the last freeze, remove winter damage. Removing spent stalks after flowering may extend blooming.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed planted in the fall; root division in late fall.
Uses: Ornamental, hummingbird garden.

This plant is a member of the Penstemon and Plantain family (Plantaginaceae). Penstemons were formerly assigned to the Figwort Family (Scrophulariaceae).

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Penstemon eatonii: Firecracker Penstemon - flowers

Penstemon eatonii: Firecracker Penstemon - with hummingbird

Penstemon eatonii: Firecracker Penstemon

Latest update: May, 2021
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