by High Country Gardens

HCG-2016-PlantofTheYear-Penstemon-pinifolius-Luminous-close-up
Close Up: 2016 Plant of the Year Luminous Pineleaf Beardtongue

Announcing Our 2016 Plant of the Year - Penstemon pinifolius Luminous

The genus Penstemon is rich with incredibly beautiful native species. Having spent the last thirty plus years growing and getting know a lot of different Beardtongue species, I now include several Beardtongue species on my list of all-time favorite native plants. At the top of that list is Pineleaf Beardtongue (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 population from which to propagate.

Here is a summary of the three cultivars that we are offering.

HCG-2016-PlantofTheYear-Penstemon_pinnifolius_Luminous
Penstemon pinifolius Luminous - 2016 Plant of the Year
  • NEW! 'Luminous' - a new High Country Gardens introduction for this coming spring. It's won a 2016 Green Thumb award and is our 2016 HCG Plant of the Year. 'Luminous' is a compact grower that blooms in late spring with showy spikes of clear orange tubular flowers. What make this new plant so special is fantastic luminous glow of its flowers in the morning and late afternoon sunshine. Upon careful examination, I discovered that the flowers they have yellow strips in the interior of the floral tube which give them this unique luminescent quality. This variety is well-suited in zones 5-9.
  • 'Compactum' - a cultivar that has been a xeric staple around Santa Fe for at least the past three to four decades. This compact little gem has short, dense pine needle leaves and brilliant scarlet flowers for many weeks beginning in late spring.
  • 'Mersae Yellow' - interestingly, this yellow flowered selection was discovered growing in an English garden and has since emigrated back to the US. A larger growing plant than'Compactum,' 'Mersae Yellow' begins to bloom in early summer.

Companion Plants for 'Luminous' and other pineleaf beardtongues

Pineleaf beardtongue is very adaptable and its brightly colored flower spikes go well with any blue flowered, sun loving perennial such as Catmint (Nepeta), English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), European Sage (Salvia superba).

  1. Blue Penstemon Blue Lips, Penstemon Blue Lips, Blue Lips hybrid Beardtongue

    Exclusive. Blue Lips has beautiful flowers and foliage. It blooms in late spring with short spikes of blue-lipped, lavender throated flowers. Shear off the faded flowers to reveal th...

    Learn More
    Penstemon Blue Lips Blue Lips Hybrid Beardtongue Penstemon Blue Lips
    $7.99
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    Exclusive. Blue Lips has beautiful flowers and foliage. It blooms in late spring with short spikes of blue-lipped, lavender throated flowers. Shear off the faded flowers to reveal the wonderful blue-gray evergreen foliage. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric). A High Country Gardens introduction. 2009 Plant of the Year.
    Learn More
  2. Red and Orange Lonicera sempervirens Major Wheeler, Lonicera sempervirens Major Wheeler, Major Wheeler Honeysuckle Vine

    Major Wheeler Honeysuckle (Lonicera) is a non-stop bloomer coloring the garden from late spring through the summer with showy clusters of orange-red flowers. Considered to be the lon...

    Learn More
    Lonicera sempervirens Major Wheeler Major Wheeler Honeysuckle Vine Lonicera sempervirens Major Wheeler
    $12.99
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Major Wheeler Honeysuckle (Lonicera) is a non-stop bloomer coloring the garden from late spring through the summer with showy clusters of orange-red flowers. Considered to be the longest blooming variety of honeysuckle and a superior flower for the hummingbirds. 2010 Plant of the Year.
    Learn More
  3. Bouteloua gracilis Blonde Ambition, Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass

    Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis Blonde Ambition PP#22,048) is a native ornamental grass with a completely new look. The horizontal eyelash-like chartreuse flower...

    Learn More
    Bouteloua gracilis Blonde Ambition PP#22,048 Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass Bouteloua gracilis Blonde Ambition
    As low as $7.99 Sale $6.39
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot

    Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis Blonde Ambition PP#22,048) is a native ornamental grass with a completely new look. The horizontal eyelash-like chartreuse flowers appear in mid-summer and age to blonde seed heads by fall. They are held on the plant right through the winter to provide many months of interest. 2011 Plant of The Year

    Learn More