For Wildflower Wednesday I’m focusing on penstemon palmeri or Palmer’s Penstemon, a native plant to Utah and much of the western U.S. I can plant in the native soil and it is happy as can be. This penstemon can be short lived, but I find that deadheading almost all of the flower stalks (leaving a couple to collect seed) seems to keep it returning year after year.
The flowers are these pale pink numbers perfectly sized for a big fat ole bumble bee and the bees do make use of them. The stripes inside the flower look like an airport runway telling those pollinators “land here” to get the good stuff.
In full bloom it can get over five feet tall. This penstemon has a sweet fragrance that carries on the air.
Another wonderful feature of this penstemon is the evergreen foliage. Here is Palmer’s penstemon last march.
And below is a picture I took this morning.
In my sister’s xeriscape below she has it planted near Rocky Mountain penstemon and ephedra viridis and many other native goodies. Palmer’s penstemon grows very well with only the water from the sky.
Penstemon palmeri reseeds in the garden, though never enough to annoy- just enough to get new plants which transplant easily. It is also easy to grow from seed. I start them indoors in the window sill. This penstemon does not seem to need pre-chilling like the seeds of many mountain penstemons.
Some great sources for seed are Plants of the Southwest and Alplains.com. Utahns can probably find the seed at good local nurseries. High Country Gardens is a source for mail order. So plant some Palmer’s penstemon and get a whiff of that fragrance for yourself.
Oops it is now Thursday.