'Luminous' Pineleaf Penstemon: 2016 Plant Of The Year
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.
What Makes This Plant Special
'Luminous' is a High Country Gardens introduction. It won a 2016 Green Thumb award and was named 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 makes this plant so special is the fantastic luminous glow of its flowers in the morning and late afternoon sunshine. Upon careful examination, I discovered that the flowers have yellow strips in the interior of the floral tube, which gives 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' & Other Pineleaf Penstemons
Pineleaf Penstemon is very adaptable. Its brightly colored flower spikes go well with any blue-flowered, sun-loving perennial such as Nepeta (Catmint), Lavandula angustifolia (English Lavender), and European Saliva (Sage).
It pairs beautifully with flowers that feature warm colors as well, such as Hymenoxys scaposa (Thrift-Leaf Perky Sue) and Eriogonum (Suplhur Buckwheat)
The Legacy of David Salman | High Country Gardens founder David Salman was a pioneer of waterwise gardening, a passionate plant explorer, and a charismatic storyteller. His commitment to cultivating a palette of beautiful waterwise plants transformed gardening in the American West.
Shop All Penstemon
Rocky Mountain beardtongue, with its spikes of bright blue flowers and evergreen foliage, is one of the easiest-to-grow Penstemon. Long-lived, this beauty thrives in most any well-dr...Learn MoreRocky Mountain Penstemon Rocky Mountain Beardtongue Penstemon strictus$10.99 Sale $9.89Sale Price I Save 10%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 fol...Learn MoreRed Rocks Penstemon Red Rocks Hybrid Beardtongue Penstemon mexicali Red Rocks$10.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Pikes Peak Purple is a superb hybrid variety that blooms most of the summer with large concord grape-purple flowers. The plants are vigorous and have attractive glossy green foliage....Learn MorePike's Peak Purple Penstemon Pike's Peak Purple hybrid Beardtongue Penstemon mexicali Pike's Peak Purple$12.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
A soft orange-flowered selection of pineleaf beardtongue, SteppeSuns® Sunset Glow Penstemon (Penstemon pinifolius) is a native cultivar that starts flowering in late spring and attr...Learn MoreSteppeSuns® Sunset Glow Penstemon SteppeSuns® Sunset Glow Beardtongue Penstemon pinifolius 'P019S'$10.99 Sale $9.34Sale Price I Save 15%Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
Penstemon pinifolius ‚FlowerKisser® Citrus Surprise‚ WWGPIN (Beardtongue) is a unique light-orange-flowering cultivar of this favorite native perennial. Pineleaf Penstem...Learn More
Penstemon cobaea var. purpurea ‚Purple Ozark‚ (Beardtongue) is a native wildflower with huge lavender-blue flowers and glossy deep green foliage. Magnificent is barely ad...Learn MorePurple Ozark Penstemon Purple Ozark Beardtongue Penstemon cobaea v. purpurea$13.99 Sale $11.89Sale Price I Save 15%Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Rubycunda has the huge, brightly colored tubular flowers of the cold tender English hybrids, but with excellent USDA zone 4 cold hardiness. Mid-summer blooming, this perennial is hi...Learn MoreRubycunda Penstemon Rubycunda Beardtongue Penstemon barbatus Rubycunda$11.99 Sale $10.79Sale Price I Save 10%Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot