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Tried and True plants

To see more information about a particular plant or genus, click on the name to go to a more detailed page. There is a pager at the bottom.

Penstemon
Penstemon azureus Penstemon azureus

A beautiful California native with narrow silvery or blue grey leaves.  Yellow buds open to numerous azure blue flowers that sparkle with iridescence.  One of our favorites. 

Penstemon grinellii Penstemon grinellii

A large California Penstemon that is excellent for dry landscaping.  Mounds of leathery serrated leaves in an olive-grey color, similar to a smaller version of P. Palmer.  Profuse inflorescences of large pale pink flowers.  Another penstemon that does best with minimal irrigation. 

Penstemon heterophyllus Penstemon heterophyllus

The Foothill penstemon is native to the Sierra Foothills, but has proven so garden worthy that there are many named cultivars such as 'True Blue' or 'Margarita BOP'.  All have green leaves and brilliant blue flowers.  Needs minimal to no irrigation once established, but can also handle typical garden conditions.  Easy.  Wonderful.  

Penstemon palmeri Penstemon palmeri

A striking penstemon native to high deserts of the southwest, including  California. Large serrated leaves of glaucous blue green and 4 foot stalks of pink flowers that are large enough to accommodate the bumblebees. The only truly fragrant penstemon.  An invaluable landscape accent for us, we let it reseed in un-watered areas.  Individual plants are short lived, but it reseeds well.  Do not irrigate or water more than once a month. 

Penstemon pseudospectablis

Another tough, beautiful  penstemon perfect for the dryland garden.  Tall (3-4') stems of blue green serrated leaves and beautiful corollas of deep rose-pink to magenta. Gorgeous and beloved by hummingbirds. 

Penstemon richardsonii Penstemon richardsonii

A wonderful penstemon for tumbling down banks, with serrated, burgundy tinted leaves and rosey purple flowers in early summer. One of the few Penstemons to do well in areas with a bit of shade. 

Penstemon roezlii

A small blue penstemon related to P. heterophyllus, but usually growing at higher elevations. 

Penstemon spectablis Penstemon spectablis

One more large southwest species.  Tall stems (up to 4') of gorgeous blue purple flowers.  Minimal to no water.  As with most of the large southwest desert species, individual plants are short-lived.  Let them seed. 

Phlomis