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

Growing Penstemon palmeri:
Palmer's Penstemon

social icons Facebook Pinterest Instagram

Form: Herb.
Lifespan: 4-5 years.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: The flower stems reach 3-6' high depending on growing conditions.
Flowers: Reddish-pink to white, broadly tubular with large mouths, bearded bottom stamen, in a long, narrow cluster on stem, very fragrant.
Bloom: Spring.
Fruit: Seed capsule.
Leaves: Blue-green, triangular, and depending on subspecies, possibly boat-shaped surrounding stem, possibly serrated margins.
Stems: No thorns.
Roots: Taproot.
Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. Browsed by mammals and should be protected by fencing for the first two years.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Western North America.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 4-9.
Heat tolerant: Yes, once established.
Drought tolerant: Yes, once established.
Sun: Full sun to light shade.
Water once established: Once or twice a month. Do not overwater.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low in organic content, pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline). This plant is only moderately salt-tolerant. Decomposed granite or crushed volcanic cinders are the only fertilizers it should receive.
First Year Care: In full sun, mulch using decomposed granite and/or pea gravel and water lightly each day, especially when blooming, to establish an extensive root system. Do not overwater.
Prune: Remove dead leaves and flower stalks after the seed capsules have dried.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed planted in fall; half-woody cuttings taken in summer.
Uses: Ornamental, hummingbird garden, xeric garden.

This plant is a member of the Penstemon and Plantain family (Plantaginaceae). It is one of the few fragrant penstemons and is fairly easy to grow when conditions are right.

Do you have additional information or a different experience for these plants that you would like to share? Email All contributions are welcome and appreciated.

Penstemon palmeri: Palmer's Penstemon - flowers

Penstemon palmeri: Palmer's Penstemon - flower stalk

Penstemon palmeri: Palmer's Penstemon

Latest update: May, 2021
© 2008-2024 by