By David Salman, Founder of High Country Gardens
The genus Penstemon, also known by its common name Beardtongue, is rich with incredibly beautiful native species. Having spent thirty-plus years growing and getting to know a lot of different Penstemon species, I now include several on my list of all-time favorite native plants. At the top of that list is Pineleaf Penstemon (Penstemon pinifolius).
This perennial wildflower has it all.
- It's long lived with healthy plants thriving for up to a decade or longer.
- It's easy-to-grow requiring only plentiful sun, a "lean", well drained soil and, once established, a occasional deep soakings in dry weather.
- It has handsome evergreen foliage and grows in a tidy mound like a miniature mugo pine.
- It adapts well to garden cultivation in areas of the country where lavender can be grown.
- Is highly attractive to hummingbirds who love to pollinate the nectar-rich flowers.
In nature, this species is variable across its range in the mountains of southwestern New Mexico and eastern Arizona, which from a nurseryman's perspective, provides ample opportunity for selecting special individual plants and populations from which to propagate.