Tohono Chul @ Home: Passionate About Penstemons!

Welcome to all things Penstemons!

Without a doubt, the genus Penstemon is a favorite of gardeners, its approximately 275 species widely cultivated on both sides of the Atlantic since it was first described by Virginia botanist John Mitchell in 1748.

These long-blooming perennials are endemic to North America from Canada to Guatemala, with every state in the continental United States having at least one native species. Their graceful floral spikes and color variety (shades of red, pink, blue, purple and white) have made them favorites across the pond as well, with hundreds of hybrids developed by Europeans since the early 19th century.

Perfect for drought-tolerant and wildlife-friendly landscaping, penstemons are low-maintenance. Most prefer sunny and dry growing conditions; though some do well with less sun and more water, all need well-drained, un-amended soil. Around Tucson, provide occasional water during dry summer months, but almost none when it is cool in fall and winter. Reaching heights of 1’ to 3’ tall (.3m to .9m), plants readily reseed themselves, so give them room to grow.

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