Monday, April 30, 2012

Plant Spotlight

Margarita BOP Penstemon (Penstemon x heterophyllus ‘Margarita BOP’)

This penstemon variety was found in California at the Bottom Of a Porch, hence the BOP in the cultivar name. It produces an eye-popping display of electric blue flowers in the spring that fade out with warmer weather. Its delicate appearance belies its ability to endure poor soils and dry conditions.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Plant Spotlight

Husker Red Penstemon (Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red')

This is probably the best non-native penstemon for Utah gardens. Its leaves emerge maroon but turn an attractive dark-green with age. The foliage color is offset by spikes of tubular white flowers blushed with pink that bloom in mid to late spring in Utah. Though it can handle some heat and drought, it needs additional water to survive through Utah’s summers.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Plant Spotlight

Pineleaf Penstemon (Penstemon pinifolius)

Penstemons don’t come much better than this small leaved version. Native to New Mexico and Arizona, it’s adapted to sites with little precipitation, but will perform well if given a little extra water. Its bright red, tubular flowers bloom in the spring and are attractive to hummingbirds. The small pine needle-like leaves are an attractive green and semi-evergreen in Utah. Like most penstemons, it does have a short lifespan and may decline after five to ten years, especially in heavy clay soils.

 'Mersea Yellow' is a yellow flowering variety.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Plant Spotlight

Rocky Mountain Penstemon (Penstemon strictus)

This is a good penstemon for novice gardeners to try. It isn’t finicky and rewards minimal care with loads of spring blooming purple-blue flowers. It has a long lifespan, for a penstemon, and will spread into sizeable clumps. However, unlike many other penstemons, this Utah native needs a little water to keep it alive through the summer.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Plant Spotlight

Utah has a plethora of penstemons and so will our plant spotlights for the next month!

Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii)

One of the premier native plants of Utah, the firecracker penstemon survives on natural precipitation, prefers hot and dry conditions and tolerates salty soils, it also produces abundant stalks of fire red flowers in spring. The flowers are highly attractive to hummingbirds and planting one will surely guarantee a visit from a blurry winged friend.

Excessive care of this plant will result in a shortened life-span, so avoid planting it in soils that are too organic. It prefers light soils, but will work in heavy soils if it isn’t overwatered, which means don’t water it once it’s established. It is a light reseeder if the seed pods are left on the stalks to dry.