Favorite Plants

Penstemon barbatus 'Schooley's Coral'

I spend a great deal of time evaluating and breeding new plants for High Country Gardens. But some of my favorite introductions have been by chance.

Penstemon barbatus 'Schooley's Coral' originated as single plant I discovered at Santa Fe Greenhouses about 10 or so years ago. I believe it is the result of an unplanned cross between Penst. barbatus 'Elfin Pink' and Penstemon barbatus 'Schooley's Yellow' which I was also growing at the time.

'Schooley's Yellow' was discovered by Mrs. Schooley, a school teacher from Las Vegas, NM. She found the plant growing in the Sangre de Cristo mountains west of town. While this discovery was a wonderful color breakthrough for this species, the plant itself was not particularly garden-worthy as it was a bit of a weak grower and very susceptible to powdery mildew.

A year or so after the last of my Schooley's Yellow plants had died, I found a lone blooming volunteer seedling with a unique flower color in one of my pots. I began to evaluate it and propagate some additional plants from cuttings. I loved this plant's flower color; yellow buds turning pink before fully opening to coral pink. It also inherited 'Elfin Pink's excellent garden performance.

So I began propagating the newly named 'Schooley's Coral' in earnest. After 3 or 4 years I had sufficient numbers to begin selling it in 2006.

Plant this wonderful Penstemon in a location with infertile, well drained soil in full sun. Keep it deadheaded to maintain it's vigor (seedling will most likely not be the same wonderful color) and keep the plant blooming through the summer.

2 thoughts on “Favorite Plants”

  • Susie Alderson
    Susie Alderson 08/14/09 at 4:29 pm

    I live in KS and am interested in planting agastache. Is it to late to plant this year, or what is the best time to plant? Does the plant stay green all year? Can I prune to control the height?

    Also do you know the correct name for fire bush? Thank you so much for your help.


    • David Salman

      Many Agastache when transplanted in the fall in USDA zones 6 or colder, don't have time to become well established before winter. As a result they may not make it through to the following spring.

      You don't say in which USDA zone you are located (indicates expected winter low temperatures). But, if you can plant by the end of August, I would recommend 'Blue Fortune', Acapulco 'Orange', Acapulco 'Salmon and Pink' , Agastache foeniculatum and Agastache rupestris. These are the most cold hardy Agastache for late summer planting.

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