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Showy penstemon

Penstemon spectabilis


The Showy penstemon is one of the outstanding native perennials of Southern California where it commonly grows in sage scrub and chaparral plant communities. It is a tall species that produces numerous 3-5 ft. tall stems that become covered with rich purple-blue flowers in mid to late spring.

Showy penstemon is naturally suited to native landscape plantings in the Inland Empire in combination with the Coast live oak and the Desert willow. It grow best on well drained soils, in full sun and with low amounts of supplemental water during summer. It combines well with other scrub and desert perennials and around boulders, on banks and for seasonal accent value.

Because it usually gets cut back hard after flowers have dried out and seeds have been set, it is best used in gaps among low shrubs or bunch grasses where it will largely blend into the landscape when not in bloom, but then steal the show in the spring when its long flower stocks reach high.

This is a favorite to mix amongst a large planting of deer grass for a show of spring color in a meadowy situation.

Plant Type: Perennial, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Clumping
Growth Rate: Fast
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Purple, Blue
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, All day sun
Function: Borders, Wildlife value, Hummingbird plant, Attracts butterflies, Flowering accent plant, California native
Height: 1.5 ft. (3 ft. while flowering) – 2 ft. (5 ft. while flowering)
Width: 2 ft. – 4 ft.

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