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Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’ (Foothill Beardtongue)

Bunchleaf Penstemon 'Electric Blue', Bunchleaf Beardtongue 'Electric Blue, Foothill Penstemon 'Electric Blue', Foothill Beardtongue 'Electric Blue'

Penstemon heterophyllus 'Electric Blue', Bunchleaf Penstemon 'Electric Blue', Bunchleaf Beardtongue 'Electric Blue', Foothill Penstemon 'Electric Blue', Foothill Beardtongue 'Electric Blue'

Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’ is a dazzling perennial that produces masses of brilliant blue to violet flowers. Its narrow, pointed foliage starts out with a bluish tinge, transitioning to green, providing a dramatic backdrop for the luminescent flowers.

Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’: An In-depth Look

Native: This cultivar originates from the species Penstemon heterophyllus, which is native to the western United States, particularly California.

Plant Type and Habit: It’s an evergreen perennial that forms tidy clumps. This penstemon maintains a bushy, upright habit with a slightly spreading nature.

Size: ‘Electric Blue’ typically grows to a height and spread of 12-18 inches (30-45 cm).

Flowers: The tubular flowers are a stunning electric blue to violet, often with a slightly paler throat, and are borne on slender, erect, red stems. Their vibrancy is a highlight in any garden.

Bloom Time: The bloom period is relatively long, starting in late spring and continuing through mid-summer.

Foliage: The foliage is narrow, pointed, and bluish-green, becoming more green as the season progresses. Its evergreen nature in milder climates adds year-round interest.

Uses: Given its striking color and form, ‘Electric Blue’ is used as a focal point in borders, rock gardens, and containers. It’s also used in native plant gardens and pollinator gardens.

Hardiness: It is hardy in USDA zones 6-10, showcasing both heat and moderate cold tolerance.

Pollinators: Penstemon attracts various pollinators, especially bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, drawn to the nectar-rich flowers.

Toxicity: Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’ has no significant known toxicity to pets or humans.

Deer and Rabbit: Penstemons, including ‘Electric Blue’, are generally deer-resistant and somewhat resistant to rabbits, though heavy infestations can cause damage.

Drought: It’s noted for its drought tolerance once established, requiring little water in the right conditions, aligning with its native habitat’s environment.

Invasiveness: ‘Electric Blue’ is non-invasive, sticking to its defined space in the garden.

Penstemon Growing Tips

Light: Full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun per day). Tolerates light shade.

Soil: Well-drained soil is crucial. Penstemons prefer rocky or sandy lean soils rather than rich garden loam. Avoid overly moist, poorly drained soils.

Water: Water well until plants are established. Once established, Penstemons tolerate some drought. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Over-watering or wet soils can lead to root rot.

Fertilizer: Penstemon plants generally do not require heavy fertilization and can thrive in relatively lean soil conditions. However, providing them with a light application of an organic fertilizer in the fall can help boost their growth and flowering potential.

Pruning: Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming. Cut back plants in late autumn or early spring to promote vigorous growth.

Mulching: Mulching Penstemon can help regulate ground temperature and suppress weed growth. Choose a mulch that does not hold water. Use organic materials like shredded bark, compost, or pine straw. Avoiding direct contact with the stems to prevent rot and pest issues.

Propagation: Propagate by softwood cuttings in mid summer or semi-hardwood cuttings in summer

Pests and Diseases: No serious pest or disease issues, but watch for slugs, snails, and nematodes. Fungal diseases can occur in overly wet conditions; ensure good air circulation and avoid overhead watering to prevent issues like powdery mildew, leaf spot, and root rot. Rust can cause small, rust-colored pustules on leaves and stems, leading to defoliation and stunted growth.

Penstemon: How to Grow and Care with Success


Properly growing Penstemon ensures robust, vibrant blooms and foliage, enhances garden biodiversity by attracting pollinators, prevents disease, and maintains plant health. Thriving plants provide longer-lasting beauty and environmental benefits, contributing positively to local ecosystems and the aesthetic value of your landscape.

Requirements

Hardiness 6 - 10
Heat Zones 7 - 10
Climate Zones 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Penstemon
Common names Beardtongue, Penstemon
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid)
Height 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 18" (50cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand, Clay
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, City and Courtyard, Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
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Penstemon (Beardtongue)
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Penstemon pallidus (Pale Beardtongue)
Penstemon pseudospectabilis (Desert Beardtongue)
Penstemon parryi (Parry’s Beardtongue)
Penstemon ‘Evelyn’ (Beardtongue)
Penstemon ovatus (Eggleaf Beardtongue)
Penstemon canescens (Eastern Gray Beardtongue)

Recommended Companion Plants

Encelia californica (California Brittlebush)
Epilobium canum ‘Calistoga’ (California Fuchsia)
Mimulus aurantiacus (Bush Monkey Flower)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

35 Flowering Shrubs That Thrive in Full Sun
Penstemon and Pollinators: A Harmonious Dance in the Garden
Thriving in Thirst: Colorful Penstemons for Water-Wise Landscapes
Penstemon: How to Grow and Care with Success
Penstemon (Beardtongue)
For the Love of Bees: Best Flowers to Attract them to Your Garden
How to Cultivate a Thriving Bee-Friendly Garden
Best Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 6 - 10
Heat Zones 7 - 10
Climate Zones 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Penstemon
Common names Beardtongue, Penstemon
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid)
Height 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 18" (50cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand, Clay
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, City and Courtyard, Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Penstemon (Beardtongue)
Not sure which Penstemon (Beardtongue) to pick?
Compare Now

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