Penstemon palmeri (Palmer's Penstemon)

Scientific Name

Penstemon palmeri A. Gray

Common Names

Palmer's Penstemon


Penstemon palmeri var. palmeri

Scientific Classification

Family: Plantaginaceae
Tribe: Cheloneae
Genus: Penstemon


Color: Pink to violet to blue-purple
Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer


Penstemon palmeri is an erect perennial plant that grows up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall. Leaves are generally oppositely arranged and have toothed margins. The inflorescence is a panicle or raceme with small bracts. Flowers have a five-lobed calyx of sepals and a cylindrical corolla, which may have an expanded throat. The staminode is partially hairy. The showy, rounded flower has large pink to violet to blue-purple petals.

Penstemon palmeri (Palmer's Penstemon)
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USDA hardiness zone 4a to 9b: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 30 °F (−1.1 °C).

How to Grow and Care

The best location for this plant is in a full sun area with well-draining soil. Penstemon care and maintenance are minimal if the site and moisture requirements are met. Poorly draining soils and freezing temperatures while the plant is still active are the biggest causes of plant mortality.

The perennial is remarkably tolerant of drought conditions and is a stalwart presence in even low nutrient soils. It has had to be adaptable to thrive in windy, exposed areas of mountain foothills.

You can grow Penstemon from seed. They begin as rosettes low to the ground before forming the characteristic flower stalk. Indoor sowing should begin in late winter. Seedlings are ready to transplant when they have a second set of true leaves. Space plants 1 to 3 feet apart and mix in a little compost at planting time to help conserve water and increase porosity.

Water the young plants at least once per week as they establish. You can reduce watering as the plant matures. Mulch around the plants to help protect the roots from winter's cold and prevents spring weeds. See more at How to Grow and Care for Penstemon.


Penstemon palmeri is native to desert mountains from the eastern Mojave Desert in California to east Nevada, northeastern Arizona, New Mexico, and north through Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and eastern Washington.


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