PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Palmer’s Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)

A must-have for the native pollinator garden! Native to more arid parts of the inter-mountain west including Washington. This evergreen Penstemon will stop you in your tracks when it’s in bloom with 4-5 ft. tall spires of large, fragrant, successive pinkish-lilac tubular blooms. Our seed supplier says this about it:  “…it is the Celine Dion of penstemons: Colossal, sirenic, statuesque, majestic, flamboyant, perfumed, whimsical, and flashy.”

It likes sunny and dry and doesn’t care much for rich soil. The blooms in late spring to early summer have a distinctive sweet flowery perfume and are shaped just right for wild bumblebees to fit in. Which they do. Enthusiastically. The broad, twisted & curved, gently toothed grey-green leaves are evergreen. This is a great choice for a parking strip where soil quality and water are questionable.

Also, historically, it has been used to treat snakebites. So watch out for rain vipers while you are gardening here in the Puget Sound area. If you do get bitten, this Penstemon has you covered.