Penstemon pinifolius (Pineleaf)

Pineleaf Penstemon



Penstemon pinifolius (Pineleaf Beardtougue) is one of the very best western Penstemon, blooming in late spring, with a phenomenal display of bright-orange tubular flowers held over attractive, evergreen pine needle-like foliage.

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Zones 4 - 9
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Attract Hummingbirds
Attract Hummingbirds
Bee Friendly
Bee Friendly
Rabbit Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Extended Bloom Time (more than 4 weeks)
Light Requirements
Full Sun
Full Sun
Morning Sun & Afternoon Shade
Morning Sun & Afternoon Shade
Annual Rainfall
Drought Resistant / Waterwise
10 to 20", 20 to 30", 30 to 40" (with care)
Bloom Time Late spring to Mid summer
Shipping Shipping begins in late February based on ground temperatures, warmest zones first. More shipping info Learn More…
Size Plant - 5" deep pot


10-12" tall x 12-18" wide. Penstemon pinifolius (Pineleaf Beardtongue) Compact, hardy and water thrifty, the red-orange tubular flowers of P. pinifolius, set the late spring garden ablaze in color. Out of flower, the plant resembles a tiny mugo pine with thin, evergreen leaves held on tidy stems giving the plant year-round interest in the waterwise landscape. A little known native species native to southern New Mexico and eastern Arizona.
Common Name Pineleaf Penstemon
Botanical Name Penstemon pinifolius
Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Light Requirements Full Sun, Morning Sun & Afternoon Shade
Flower Color Red, Orange
Mature Height 10-12" tall
Mature Spread 12-18" wide
Bloom Time Late spring to Mid summer
Ships As Potted Plant
Evergreen Yes
Native Yes
Planting Time Spring / Summer, Fall
Soil Type Sandy Soil, Average Soil, Low Fertility Soil
Soil Moisture Drought Resistant / Waterwise
Amount of Rain 10 to 20", 20 to 30", 30 to 40" (with care)
Advantages Deer Resistant, Attract Hummingbirds, Bee Friendly, Rabbit Resistant, Native, Extended Bloom Time (more than 4 weeks), Evergreen
Additional Information Grown by our friends at Perennial Favorites in Layton, UT
Ideal Region Anywhere In The US, Suitable Above 7000 ft, Southwest, West, Pacific Northwest
Neonicotinoid-Free Yes - Learn More
Ships to Hawaii, Alaska & Canada No

Planting Guides

Tips for growing Penstemon (Beardtongue)

Penstemon are generally evergreen and have beautiful flowers that are very attractive to hummingbirds. Most varieties are rabbit resistant.

  1. They need “elbow room,” maximum sun, heat and don’t like to be crowded by other plants.
  2. Plant only in well-drained soils; clay soils and Penstemon are incompatible.
  3. Avoid overly enriched soils; too much compost and fertilizer will shorten their lifespan.
  4. They establish quickly and the amount and frequency of watering needs to be reduced after about 8 to 10 weeks to create dry conditions.
  5. When using drip irrigation, be sure to put the emitter off to the side of the plant, not right on top of the root ball to avoid overwatering the plant.
  6. Plant high, leaving the top of the rootball just above the surrounding soil to avoid burying the crown of the plant.
  7. Mulch with gravel or pine needles in arid climates. No mulch is needed where conditions are moister. Always avoid bark, grass clippings, or compost as mulch materials.
  8. Allow some of the plants to set seed (don't deadhead all of the flower spikes)*.
  9. Fertilize sparingly. One time each year in the fall is enough. Apply a light application of an organic or natural fertilizer such as Yum Yum Mix as a top dressing around the plants. Don't use high nitrogen water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Gro

*To keep penstemon that have finely textured or matted evergreen foliage looking their best, you'll want to 'deadhead" them. 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. Recommended for the following varieties: P. pinifolius types (‘Compactum', ‘Mersea Yellow', ‘Nearly Red', ‘Magdalena Sunshine' and ‘Tall Orange Mix'), as well as Penstemon linarioides v. coloradensis and Penstemon virens ('Blue Lips').

More in-depth guidance for growing Penstemon: Watch our video: How To Plant Penstemon or read articles: Growing Penstemon, Penstemon for the Waterwise Garden, David’s Favorite Plants: Pineleaf Beardtongue, The Beardtongue Family: Penstemania for Penstemon and The Genus Penstemon: The Royalty of American Wildflowers The Genus Penstemon: The Royalty of American Wildflowers (Part 2).

View more Planting Guides, or download our complete Planting Guide for tips on caring for your plants when you receive your order, as well as planting instructions for Perennials, Spring-Planted Bulbs, Fall-Planted Bulbs, Cacti & Succulents, Xeric Plants and more.


Plant Shipping: Buy now and we will ship your order at the ideal planting time for your region. Spring-Planted Perennial and Bulb orders will ship from February 27-June 30, warmest zones first. Most plant orders will arrive within 3-4 days, or less, of leaving our greenhouses. This prompt delivery is provided without additional express charges.

Grass Plugs Will ship at planting time in spring 2017, beginning in late February.

Wildflower Seed & Grass Seed Orders ship within 2-3 days.

Standard shipping costs are $4.99 and up, depending on the size of the order.

Make Fast Even Faster: For ‘Rush’ same week delivery, please call customer service at 800-925-9387.

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Reviewsby PowerReviews


by PowerReviews
High Country GardensPenstemon pinifolius (Pineleaf)

(based on 2 reviews)

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Reviewed by 2 customers

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Still Alive...


from Los Alamos, NM

About Me Avid Gardener

Verified Reviewer

Comments about High Country Gardens Penstemon pinifolius (Pineleaf):

I planted 2 plugs in early April. When I received the plugs, they were very small with very little growth above the crown. Some of the growth was brown. I planted them anyway according to instructions. Now it is almost July and all of the foliage on these plants has turned green. Still no more that a few inches tall with much growing still to come. No flowers the first year.

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(17 of 17 customers found this review helpful)


Truly Evergreen with Attractive Foliage


from Kanab, southern Utah

About Me Avid Gardener

Verified Reviewer


  • Accurate Instructions
  • Attractive
  • Hardy
  • Healthy
  • Nice Evergreen Foliage


    Best Uses

    • Dry, Hot, Sunny Spots
    • Garden
    • Outdoors

    Comments about High Country Gardens Penstemon pinifolius (Pineleaf):

    Wow-wee! I was impressed by the multi-stemmed, healthy and lively plant that I received in a 5 inch pot from High Country Gardens. This little trooper didn't miss a beat when I transplanted it in late summer (it was a VERY long summer, the heat and dryness kept dragging on and on, so it wasn't such a great time to transplant really... no matter, this pineleaf penstemon took it like a champ and seemed perfectly happy)! I created a little saucer well depression around the plant, about 12 inches in diameter. The "saucer" helped retain our infrequent rainwater or hand watering. GROWS WELL WITH: I planted it alongside Penstemon Coconino County (raspberry pink), Penstemon Elfin Pink, silver lambs ear, trumpet vine, white hibiscus bushes, a chitalpa tree, Jupiters beard, catmint, purple iris, desert willow and some pre-existing natives (wild sunflower, needleleaf milkweed, aster, native clumping grasses, globe mallow). Love that this plant is TRULY EVERGREEN and TRULY XERIC. Our environment: 14 inches precipitation annually (fluctuating between long periods of dryness and brief periods of heavy precipitation), 5000 feet elevation, western, dry and windy high desert. Typically 0-100 degrees Fahrenheit temperature range in any given year. WILDLIFE that make their habitat in this garden: Hummingbirds, many moths, butterflies, bees (native and Arabic), bats, helpful snakes such as California kingsnake, ground squirrels, cottontails, jackrabbits, mice, tarantulas and many cool critters such as preying mantis. The hungry herbivores such as gophers and rabbits seem to leave the penstemon alone. This is a balanced ecosystem and no one plant is decimated (I am suggesting that by planting native and hardy plants such as those sold by HCG, nature can live in harmony without us having to use weed/pest control).

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    Q & A

    Suggested Companion Plants:

    USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

    To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

    • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
    • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

    Find Your Planting Zone:

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