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How To Develop and Care For Pineleaf Penstemon

Pineleaf penstemon, Penstemon pinifolius, is an evergreen perennial native to New Mexico and Arizona. It differs from different cultivars of penstemon because it has needle-like leaves however flowers comparable in look to different varieties. 

Of their native habitat, they’re recognized to thrive in sizzling, dry climates in areas with rocky soils. They’re low-maintenance and drought-tolerant as soon as established. This makes them a beautiful addition to your rock backyard, particularly alongside backyard borders. 

Brightly coloured flowers which are tubular in form are mentioned to be the perfect flowers for attracting hummingbirds. For that reason, the Pineleaf penstemon and its nectar-rich tubular-shaped flowers are recognized to be a magnet to hummingbirds and different pollinators like butterflies. 

Given the best rising circumstances (like that of their native New Mexico and Arizona), they may flower profusely all through the rising season starting in early spring. Not solely can they be added on to the panorama, however they’re additionally appropriate for containers and small house gardens. 

If you happen to’re wanting so as to add a low-maintenance, pollinator-supporting, low-water-use plant to your xeriscape panorama, then look no additional than Pineleaf penstemon!

Its distinctive foliage and vibrant orange flowers will bloom and add curiosity to your backyard all summer season lengthy. On a sunny day, the flowers will probably be visited by bees and butterflies typically, and your native habitat will thanks! 

Fast Care Information

Widespread Identify Pineleaf penstemon, Pineleaf beardtongue, pine needle beardtongue
Scientific Identify Penstemon pinifolius
Household Plantinagaceae, the plantain household
Top & Unfold 10-12” tall and 12-18” vast
Mild Full solar
Soil Lean, well-drained soil
Water Low water wants, drought tolerant as soon as established
Pests & Illnesses No severe insect or illness points, deer resistant

About Pineleaf Penstemon

Side view, close-up of a flowering Pineleaf Penstemon plant in a sunny garden. The plant has thin and upright stems covered with narrow lanceolate green leaves. The flowers are tubular, elongated, bright red-orange hue.
The Pineleaf penstemon has needle-like leaves and Foxglove-like flowers.

Pineleaf penstemon, recognized botanically as Penstemon pinifolius, can be generally known as Pineleaf pinifolius, Pineleaf beardtongue, pine needle beardtongue, or beardtongues.

The flowers are comparable in look to these of Foxgloves and are generally mistakenly recognized as such and generally share some widespread names like Beardtongue. 

This evergreen perennial showcases darkish inexperienced foliage with needle-like leaves alongside the stems. It’s native to areas of southern New Mexico and Arizona and has tailored to sizzling, dry climates. The flowers bloom from early spring by summer season and into late fall (Could by October) in most areas.

Penstemon pinifolius has a local habitat in Arizona and western New Mexico, the place it grows on rocky outcrops and forested mountains. As a result of it grows in rocky soil, it’s an ideal plant for rock gardens and xeriscape gardens with a rocky soil kind.

This plant appears to be like superior alongside English lavender and native grasses, for example. It’s hardy in USDA zones 4 by 9, which extends far past its native vary of New Mexico and Arizona.  

Kinds of Pineleaf Beardtongue

Close-up of a flowering Pineleaf Penstemon ‘Luminous’ plant in the garden. The plant produces thin, erect stems with narrow, needle-like, waxy, green leaves. The flowers are tubular, elongated, orange-red in color.
The Penstemon pinifolius ‘Luminous’ is a dwarf selection with bushy development behavior and vibrant orange-yellow flowers.

There are numerous various kinds of Pineleaf penstemon crops, however there are just a few in style sorts which are price mentioning. They’re all native to the identical areas the primary cultivar is from and thrive in USDA zones 4 by 9.

There’s a dwarf selection known as Penstemon pinifolius ‘Luminous’ that has a extra compact and bushy development behavior and vibrant orange-yellow flowers. 

The cultivar Penstemon pinifolius ‘Correctly Flame’ has acquired the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Backyard Benefit and has vibrant orange-red flowers that sit atop the needle-like foliage resembling small flames. 

Penstemon pinifolius ‘Mersea Yellow’ is among the few actually yellow penstemon cultivars with lemon-yellow flowers. 

Penstemon Pinifolius Care

The attractive flowers and attraction of pollinators to your backyard is purpose sufficient to plant Pineleaf penstemon. Including to that the truth that it’s an equally low-maintenance and drought-tolerant plant, what’s to not love? 

Solar and Temperature

Close-up of a flowering Pineleaf Penstemon plant in a sunny garden. This evergreen perennial has narrow lanceolate green leaves and tubular red flowers growing on tall racemes.
Pineleaf penstemon crops require full solar and could be grown efficiently in sizzling and dry areas.

Pineleaf penstemon crops do finest in full solar and want at the very least 6-8 hours of direct daylight per day. The truth that the crops originated in locations like New Mexico and Arizona implies that they’ll efficiently be grown in sizzling and dry areas with loads of full solar. 

Select a sunny spot in your backyard and remember the fact that this plant grows stems that attain 12 inches tall, so be conscious of not shading out smaller crops. Pineleaf penstemon can survive winter and late spring frosts in addition to the warmth of early summer season, which suggests they thrive in USDA zones 4-9. 

They don’t require any extra safety or cowl over winter, particularly within the USDA zones the place they’re hardy. Though a few of the evergreen foliage might die again, the slender stems of those crops will come again to the backyard within the early or late spring, as long as their roots are capable of survive.

Water and Humidity

Close-up of a flowering Pineleaf Penstemon plant covered in water drops. This perennial plant has thin, needle-like green leaves with a slightly waxy texture. Pineleaf Penstemon produces tubular-shaped spikes of bright red flowers.
Pineleaf penstemon crops require common watering in the course of the institution section.

Whereas your Pineleaf penstemon plant is getting established in your backyard, you’ll need to water it commonly. After just a few weeks, it should have tailored to its new local weather, and you’ll start to again off on watering.

Moreover, because the years move, your Pineleaf penstemon will want much less and fewer water as nicely. These are, in spite of everything, drought tolerant crops that love sizzling and dry climate. 

Throughout their first season, water your Penstemon pinifolius crops at the very least two occasions per week. Of their second 12 months of development, lower watering in half. By their third 12 months, they are often watered as soon as each 1-2 weeks or by no means in case your backyard receives sufficient rainfall to satisfy this requirement in your space. 

If you happen to’re uncertain as as to whether or not your Pineleaf penstemon must be watered, then simply stick your finger into the soil close to the bottom of the plant. If you happen to can really feel some moisture, then it’s not time to water once more but! Nevertheless, if the soil feels dry, then it’s most likely time to present it a drink. 

Monitor your soil moisture by doing a easy finger check.

Through the winter, you possibly can again off of watering altogether, as any snowfall will present the crops with all of the moisture they require.

You possibly can, nonetheless, water your Penstemon pinifolius within the winter if there is no such thing as a snow on the bottom presently, no snow within the forecast, and air temperatures are above 40 levels Fahrenheit. In any other case, watering is not going to be crucial.


Close-up of a blooming bushy Pineleaf Penstemon plant in a mulched flowerbed. The plant has erect, slender stems covered with many narrow, lanceolate, needle-like leaves and spikes of bright red tubular flowers.
This plant can adapt to numerous soil sorts however requires well-draining soil and does nicely in rock gardens.

Pineleaf penstemon is an adaptable native plant that doesn’t essentially have a most well-liked soil kind. It will possibly survive a variety of soils, from clay to loamy and even salty soil.

Its most important requirement in the case of soil is that the soil has glorious drainage. This plant doesn’t wish to be in standing water or extra moisture. Rock gardens are a fantastic place for this plant.

Penstemon grows finest when the soil is ready to dry out between waterings. If it’s worthwhile to enhance the drainage of your soil, you possibly can amend the planting website with perlite and even some sand.

Or for those who’d wish to bypass amending the backyard soil altogether, then you may as well simply develop Pineleaf penstemon in containers using a cactus potting combine (which has been made to have glorious drainage!).  


Close-up of a flowering Pineleaf Penstemon Plant in the garden, against a blurry background. Pineleaf Penstemon is an evergreen native plant that produces upright stems covered with needle-like narrow leaves and clusters of tubular red-orange flowers.
Pineleaf penstemon is a low-maintenance plant that prefers lean soil and doesn’t require fertilization.

Including to the listing of the explanation why Pineleaf penstemon is a superb low-maintenance addition to rock gardens is the truth that fertilizing just isn’t crucial.

Pineleaf penstemon truly prefers lean soil in USDA zones 4 by 9. The addition of fertilizers and even high dressing with compost can do extra hurt than good. 

Over fertilized penstemon can develop stems which are too tall too shortly and may grow to be lanky and flop over below their very own weight. For that reason, there is no such thing as a must amend the planting website with compost or fertilizers at transplant time.


Close-up of a lush Pineleaf Penstemon plant in bloom in the garden. The plant grows in the form of a large dense bush. It has vertical thin stems covered with long narrow needle-like leaves and spikes of tubular elongated bright red flowers.
To encourage a second bloom, Pineleaf penstemon needs to be pruned all through the rising season.

Pineleaf penstemon advantages from pruning all through the rising season to encourage one other bloom interval. One of the best time for deadheading spent flowers is usually starting in late spring and into midsummer (June to August). 

Take away spent flowers just a few inches under the blooms. This may encourage your penstemon to proceed blooming into late fall and up till the primary frost.

Because the rising season involves an finish, it’s prudent to prune again the crops to a peak of about 6 inches. This may assist put together the plant for the winter months and guarantee bushier development come late spring. 

Pineleaf penstemon doesn’t unfold aggressively or grow to be invasive even in its native vary and USDA zones the place it’s hardy. It will possibly unfold by way of self-seeding. If you happen to’d prefer it to unfold on this approach, then go away the final blooms of the season standing on their stems with a view to go to seed. 

As soon as the flowers have died again and the seed pods have dried, then you possibly can accumulate them for planting within the spring or you possibly can break them open and let the seeds fall the place they could. The second method mimics what the crops would do naturally of their native vary with out human intervention. 


Close-up of a flowering Pineleaf Penstemon plant against a blurred blue sky background. This perennial has evergreen, needle-like, elongated and dark green foliage. Pineleaf Penstemon produces tall spikes with tubular red flowers.
Pineleaf penstemon could be propagated by seeds or softwood cuttings taken in early summer season.

As talked about above, the evergreen native Pineleaf penstemon could be propagated most readily by seeds. Nevertheless, for those who’d like to present your penstemon propagation a head begin, then they can be propagated by softwood cuttings taken from stems within the early summer season. 

You should definitely take the younger and versatile softwood stems and never the outdated wooden on the base of the plant. Take away the evergreen foliage from the underside few inches of the slicing, dip it in rooting hormone, after which place it right into a pot with well-drained soil.

In just a few weeks, the slicing will start to develop roots and grow to be established. Then it will likely be able to transplant into its everlasting residence. 

You too can divide your penstemon in both the spring or fall. Fall division supplies the plant an opportunity to determine over winter moderately than competing with the tough warmth of the summer season throughout this delicate section.

Dig up your penstemon and lower by the foundation mass, splitting one plant into two. Replant each in a sunny spot permitting for applicable spacing between crops.  


Side view, close-up of the flowering inflorescence of the Pineleaf Penstemon plant, against a blurred garden background. The plant has a long erect spike with many tubular red-orange flowers.
To keep away from repotting, plant Pineleaf penstemon in a container that’s the measurement of the totally grown plant.

When grown in a container, Pineleaf penstemon can profit from being repotted. Since this penstemon is a short-lived perennial, repotting could be averted by planting it in a container that’s the measurement of the totally grown penstemon within the first place.

There are some challenges with this methodology, nonetheless, since an even bigger pot means you’ll must water it extra typically (extra soil means more room for water to run off and away from the roots). 

If you happen to’ve discovered that your penstemon is outgrowing its present container, then you might want to decide on an acceptable pot that may be a few inches bigger than its present vessel. Select a pot that will probably be as vast as you count on your penstemon to have grown by the tip of the season. 

This may be repeated annually, with pots growing in width till your plant is totally grown. After you dig it up and re-pot it, then it should must be watered commonly for the following few weeks till it has settled into its new residence. 


Pineleaf penstemon is as trouble-free because it will get in the case of low-maintenance native crops. There are, nonetheless, some issues to concentrate on. 

Rising Issues

Close-up of a flowering Pineleaf Penstemon Plant in a garden, against a blurred sky background. The plant has slender and upright stems, covered with narrow, lanceolate, green evergreen leaves with a slightly waxy texture. Pineleaf Penstemon flowers grow on tall spikes and are tubular in shape and bright red in color.
Overwatering and including an excessive amount of natural matter could cause Pineleaf penstemon to develop lanky and flop over.

An excessive amount of water and natural matter within the soil can have antagonistic results inflicting your Pineleaf penstemon to develop tall, lanky, and start to flop over. If this happens they could want extra assist like a stake. 

To keep away from this and preserve your crops sturdy and upright, make certain to permit the soil to dry out between waterings, and plant in an space with glorious drainage, like rock gardens.

Keep away from low-lying areas in your backyard or areas near a downspout. Including natural matter to the soil additionally helps with moisture retention, however that is one plant that prefers the soil to have the ability to dry out. 


One other good thing about rising Pineleaf penstemon is that they don’t have any severe pest points and are even deer and rabbit resistant!


Along with being pest resistant, there are additionally no severe illness points that have an effect on Pineleaf penstemon!

Steadily Requested Questions

Q: Does Pineleaf penstemon unfold?

A: It doesn’t unfold aggressively, however there will probably be some spreading resulting from self-seeding. 

Q: Is Pineleaf penstemon a perennial?

A: Sure, it’s an evergreen perennial with beautiful darkish inexperienced needle-like leaves and purple flowers. 

Q: Does penstemon like solar or shade?

A: Penstemon likes full solar. In its native habitat, it receives full solar to dapple solar. 

Q: The place is the perfect place to plant penstemon?

A: It’s finest to plant penstemon in an space that receives at the very least 6-8 hours of direct daylight per day in well-draining soil. It doesn’t wish to be cramped in intently with different crops and prefers some elbow room. Attempt to mimic its native habitat and ideally plant in USDA zones 4-9 to adequately assist it. 

Q: Do penstemons come again yearly?

A: Sure! They’re a short-lived perennial that can come again for at the very least 3-5 years. 

Q: How do you winterize a penstemon?

A: Within the fall prune again the highest development and any remaining spent flowers, leaving 6 inches of bushy development on the base. They typically don’t want cowl from snow and the chilly and so long as the roots survive it should put out new development within the spring. 

Q: Do hummingbirds like penstemon?

A: Sure! Their tubular/bell-shaped flowers are good for hummingbird beaks and so they like to drink their nectar in early summer season. 

Q: What month do penstemons flower?

A: They bloom in early summer season by early fall, from Could to October.



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