by David Salman

Penstemon virens ('Blue Lips') width=Penstemon 'Blue Lips'

Penstemon ‘Blue Lips' is a High Country Gardens introduction (new plant to the gardening world) for 2009. While many gardeners judge a plant by only by its flowers, ‘Blue Lips' is an excellent example of a perennial that is both dazzling in flower and sublimely beautiful with just its foliage.

‘Blue Lips' is a hybrid plant I found in my home xeriscape some four years ago. It is a cross between Penstemon linarioides v. coloradensis and Penstemon crandalii. Its fabulous foliage comes from P. linariodes and its profusion of lavender and blue flowers are from parent, P. crandalii. It should prove to be a long lived, small shrub-like cultivar.

To keep the evergreen foliage of ‘Blue Lips' at its best, shear off the fading flowering spikes just as the plant is going out of flower. Gently bunch the flower spikes together with one hand and cut them off at the point where they go down into the mat of foliage with your clipper in your other hand. This process is known as "deadheading."

A prompt deadheading will help the foliage grow out to form a thick mound of finely textured, blue-gray foliage that looks great summer and winter! After the plant has been groomed, it will continue to grow out along the edges, the stems rooting as they move out across its space in the garden. Next year, the plant will have many more stems on which next spring's flowering stems will emerge.

Other High Country Garden Penstemon that have finely textured or matted, evergreen foliage and benefit from the same deadheading technique include all the Penstemon pinifolius types (‘Compactum', ‘Mersea Yellow', ‘Nearly Red', ‘Magdalena Sunshine' and ‘Tall Orange Mix', Penstemon linarioides v. coloradensis and Penstemon virens.

  1. Yellow Pineleaf Beardtongue, Penstemon pinifolius Mersea Yellow

    Penstemon pinifolius Mersea Yellow (Yellow Pineleaf Beardtongue) is an English selection of our native pineleaf Penstemon grown for its bright yellow tubular flowers that cover the p...

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    Yellow Pineleaf Penstemon Yellow Pineleaf Beardtongue Penstemon pinifolius Mersea Yellow
    As low as $10.99 Sale $9.34
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Penstemon pinifolius Mersea Yellow (Yellow Pineleaf Beardtongue) is an English selection of our native pineleaf Penstemon grown for its bright yellow tubular flowers that cover the plant in late spring/early summer. This small shrub has attractive evergreen, pine-needle like foliage and a tidy mounding for. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric). 12" tall x 15" wide
  2. Orange Penstemon pinifolius Luminous, Penstemon pinifolius, Luminous Pineleaf Beardtongue

    This is an exceptional small growing, evergreen plant that covers itself with hundreds of bright light orange, yellow throated flowers in late spring-early summer. A western native p...

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    Luminous Pineleaf Penstemon Luminous Pineleaf Beardtongue Penstemon pinifolius Luminous
    As low as $10.99
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    This is an exceptional small growing, evergreen plant that covers itself with hundreds of bright light orange, yellow throated flowers in late spring-early summer. A western native perennial, Luminous Pineleaf Beardtongue thrives in well-drained soils with plenty of sunlight. High Country Gardens 2016 Plant of the Year, 2016 Green Thumb Award Winner.
  3. Pink and White Penstemon mexicali Red Rocks, Penstemon mexicali Red Rocks, Red Rocks Hybrid Beardtongue

    Penstemon Red Rocks (Beardtongue) is a superb hybrid variety that blooms most of the summer with large rose-pink flowers. The plants are vigorous and have attractive glossy green fol...

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    Red Rocks Penstemon Red Rocks Hybrid Beardtongue Penstemon mexicali Red Rocks
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $9.99 Sale $8.99
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Penstemon Red Rocks (Beardtongue) is a superb hybrid variety that blooms most of the summer with large rose-pink flowers. The plants are vigorous and have attractive glossy green foliage. A 1999 Plant Select winner. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).
  4. Blanca Peak™ Rocky Mountain Beard Tongue, Penstemon strictus ‘WWG06’

    Blanca Peak™ White Penstemon (Penstemon strictus) is an award-winning white-flowered selection of our native Rocky Mountain Penstemon. Large, tubular flowers are a favorite nectar ...

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    Blanca Peak™ Rocky Mountain Penstemon Blanca Peak™ Rocky Mountain Beardtongue Penstemon strictus 'WWG06'
    $10.99
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Blanca Peak™ White Penstemon (Penstemon strictus) is an award-winning white-flowered selection of our native Rocky Mountain Penstemon. Large, tubular flowers are a favorite nectar source for bumblebees. Plant this easy-to-grow beardtongue for a sturdy, long-lived late-spring bloomer in your xeriscape. This beauty thrives in most well-drained soil with full sun exposure. A 2021 Plant Select® Winner. A High Country Gardens Introduction.