Penstemons — A Must For Your Xeric and Hummingbird Garden

Posted by on May 4, 2022 in Featured Plants, Garden Thoughts | 2 comments

Penstemons — A Must For Your Xeric and Hummingbird Garden

Hello everyone and welcome! It is a tremendous blessing to have you here.

’tis the very best season… Spring! It has been a rainy day and we have been blessed with the best type of rain… that slow, gentle, constant rain. The ground is slowly soaking it all up and that in turn will work wonders in this very dry, Colorado garden. Welcome rain!

First, some updates:

Primula Denticulata: From my last post, I would love to be able to share with you my overwhelming success with growing this plant. Alas, I did not have any seeds germinate, not even indoors. I will not give up though. I will set a note next January to create a space outside where I can set aside some small dedicated pots with JUST primula seeds added and see what happens.

The Bird’s Nest Fern: As Charlie Brown said of his little tree, I killed it. Perhaps the root rot had already set in. I have not had the best of luck with these plants so this shall be my last endeavor to grow this plant.

Let’s Talk Penstemons

This coming Friday, May 6th and Saturday, May 7th I will be volunteering at the spring plant sale, specifically the Water Smart Division at the Denver Botanic Gardens. There has not been an in person sale for the last two years so I am looking forward to attending once again. This for me is a wonderful opportunity to talk about plants and emphasize the importance of growing natives and embracing a more Water Smart way of gardening.

Though I love all of the plants offered for sale by the Water Smart division, there is one plant I am rather fond of and that is the penstemon. I had never thought of growing them until I discovered them during my opportunity to volunteer at the annual spring plant sale. Since that time which was five or six years ago, the penstemon takes pride of place in my garden. I currently have them growing in a gravely bed and within the steps that lead to the top of the garden. This year, I have noticed I have MANY little volunteers appearing here, there and everywhere. I will be digging up a lot of these to share while relocating others out of the way of my normal walking paths.

The rain has subsided so I went out just now to capture these images.

beautiful new penstemons

Volunteer penstemons

Just look at all these volunteer penstemons!

What’s so special about penstemons?

Do you love hummingbirds? Do you prefer to garden with more native plant varieties that don’t require as much water? If you answered yes and yes, then this plant will reward you handsomely.

First, the hummingbirds: When your penstemons flower, they will be visited by hummingbirds daily. They will prefer this to any feeder.

Next, saving water: Within large portions of the western United States, it is becoming integral that we conserve water in all ways we possibly can. Converting your growing space to a Xeric based landscape will help with that. The penstemon is one of the best plants you can use for your water saving endeavors.

These are but two attributes associated with growing these amazing plants. When in bloom, they are, in my opinion, the most beautiful plants in the garden. Have a look at this:

Looking Forward to Growing New Varieties

It has been brought to my attention that this year the James’ penstemon (Penstemon jamesii) will be available at the spring plant sale. Looking at this plant’s profile on the Santa Fe Botanical Garden website, I have fallen in love. I currently have some open positions in the garden and these plants will be perfect! Look at those leaves and that color! I am getting very excited.

For Next Time

I am sure I will have a lot to talk about in my next post including the treasures I brought home from the spring plant sale. Until then, I wish to provide for you a little penstemon care sheet I created. You can download that here: penstemon-care

I wish to thank you most sincerely and humbly for taking the time to read my garden musings. I appreciate your presence. Until next time, I wish for you and yours the very best in health and all things. Many blessings.

As always, here are some current photos of the garden. Enjoy!

All being well and we don’t get any hard freezes the rest of the season, I could very well end up with a LOT of apples! Fingers are crossed.

Remember my bellis perennis obsession? Well! This image is of one of many volunteers appearing below the flax bed.

One of many sets of emerging columbines.

Beautiful phlox in the rock garden.

Do you see the little bug?

Another huge success! I have so many common violets growing now and I could not be happier since I very much wanted this plant to thrive in my garden. They are naturalizing beautifully.


  1. Comment *
    I love your gardening updates. Just today I discovered Penstemon in my garden. From last years butterfly and hummingbird mix. So enjoyable to watch the littles emerge.

  2. Hi there Gloria! 🙂 <3

    Thank you so kindly for reading my blog entry. Penstemons are so incredibly amazing. I love them... obviously.

    At the spring plant sale, they call me "Mr. Penstemon" because my focus during the sale is dedicated to these wonderful plants.

    Many blessings always!

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