How To Grow 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 identified 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 an exquisite addition to your rock backyard, particularly alongside backyard borders. 

Brightly coloured flowers which can be tubular in form are mentioned to be the very best flowers for attracting hummingbirds. For that reason, the Pineleaf penstemon and its nectar-rich tubular-shaped flowers are identified 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 area gardens. 

For those who’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 shiny orange flowers will bloom and add curiosity to your backyard all summer season lengthy. On a sunny day, the flowers will likely be visited by bees and butterflies typically, and your native habitat will thanks! 

Fast Care Information

Frequent 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” large
Gentle Full solar
Soil Lean, well-drained soil
Water Low water wants, drought tolerant as soon as established
Pests & Ailments No severe insect or illness points, deer resistant

About Pineleaf Penstemon

The Pineleaf penstemon has needle-like leaves and Foxglove-like flowers.

Pineleaf penstemon, identified 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 frequent 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 way of summer season and into late fall (Could by way of 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 sort.

This plant seems superior alongside English lavender and native grasses, as an illustration. It’s hardy in USDA zones 4 by way of 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 progress behavior and shiny orange-yellow flowers.

There are numerous several types of Pineleaf penstemon vegetation, however there are just a few in style varieties which can be price mentioning. They’re all native to the identical areas the principle cultivar is from and thrive in USDA zones 4 by way of 9.

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

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

Penstemon pinifolius ‘Mersea Yellow’ is without doubt one of the few really yellow penstemon cultivars with lemon-yellow flowers. 

Penstemon Pinifolius Care

The attractive flowers and attraction of pollinators to your backyard is cause 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 vegetation require full solar and might be grown efficiently in sizzling and dry areas.

Pineleaf penstemon vegetation do greatest in full solar and want a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct daylight per day. The truth that the vegetation originated in locations like New Mexico and Arizona signifies that they’ll efficiently be grown in sizzling and dry areas with loads of full solar. 

Select a sunny spot in your backyard and take into account that this plant grows stems that attain 12 inches tall, so be aware of not shading out smaller vegetation. 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 further 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 vegetation will come again to the backyard within the early or late spring, as long as their roots are in a position to 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 vegetation require common watering throughout the institution part.

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

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

Throughout their first season, water your Penstemon pinifolius vegetation a minimum of two occasions per week. Of their second yr of progress, lower watering in half. By their third yr, they are often watered as soon as each 1-2 weeks or by no means in case your backyard receives sufficient rainfall to fulfill this requirement in your space. 

For those who’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. For those who can really feel some moisture, then it’s not time to water once more but! Nonetheless, if the soil feels dry, then it’s in all probability time to provide it a drink. 

Monitor your soil moisture by doing a easy finger check.

Through the winter, you’ll be able to again off of watering altogether, as any snowfall will present the vegetation with all of the moisture they require.

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


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 varieties however requires well-draining soil and does properly in rock gardens.

Pineleaf penstemon is an adaptable native plant that doesn’t essentially have a most popular soil sort. It could possibly survive a variety of soils, from clay to loamy and even salty soil.

Its important requirement in terms of soil is that the soil has glorious drainage. This plant doesn’t prefer to be in standing water or extra moisture. Rock gardens are an awesome place for this plant.

Penstemon grows greatest when the soil is ready to dry out between waterings. If you might want to improve the drainage of your soil, you’ll be able to amend the planting web site with perlite and even some sand.

Or if you happen to’d prefer to bypass amending the backyard soil altogether, then you can even 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 record of the reason why Pineleaf penstemon is a superb low-maintenance addition to rock gardens is the truth that fertilizing is just not vital.

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

Over fertilized penstemon can develop stems which can be too tall too rapidly and may turn into lanky and flop over underneath their very own weight. For that reason, there is no such thing as a must amend the planting web site 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. The perfect time for deadheading spent flowers is mostly 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 vegetation to a top of about 6 inches. This may assist put together the plant for the winter months and guarantee bushier progress come late spring. 

Pineleaf penstemon doesn’t unfold aggressively or turn into invasive even in its native vary and USDA zones the place it’s hardy. It could possibly unfold by way of self-seeding. For those who’d prefer it to unfold on this manner, then go away the final blooms of the season standing on their stems as a way to go to seed. 

As soon as the flowers have died again and the seed pods have dried, then you’ll be able to accumulate them for planting within the spring or you’ll be able to break them open and let the seeds fall the place they could. The second strategy mimics what the vegetation 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 might be propagated by seeds or softwood cuttings taken in early summer season.

As talked about above, the evergreen native Pineleaf penstemon might be propagated most readily by seeds. Nonetheless, if you happen to’d like to provide your penstemon propagation a head begin, then they may also be propagated by softwood cuttings taken from stems within the early summer season. 

Make sure to take the younger and versatile softwood stems and never the previous 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 turn into established. Then it is going to be able to transplant into its everlasting dwelling. 

It’s also possible to divide your penstemon in both the spring or fall. Fall division gives the plant an opportunity to determine over winter reasonably than competing with the tough warmth of the summer season throughout this delicate part.

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


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 dimension of the absolutely grown plant.

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

There are some challenges with this methodology, nevertheless, 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). 

For those who’ve discovered that your penstemon is outgrowing its present container, then you might want to decide on an acceptable pot that could be a few inches bigger than its present vessel. Select a pot that will likely be as large as you count on your penstemon to have grown by the tip of the season. 

This may be repeated every year, with pots growing in width till your plant is absolutely grown. After you dig it up and re-pot it, then it is going to must be watered often for the subsequent few weeks till it has settled into its new dwelling. 


Pineleaf penstemon is as trouble-free because it will get in terms of low-maintenance native vegetation. There are, nevertheless, some issues to pay attention to. 

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 may cause Pineleaf penstemon to develop lanky and flop over.

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

To keep away from this and maintain your vegetation sturdy and upright, be certain that 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 haven’t 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!

Regularly Requested Questions

Q: Does Pineleaf penstemon unfold?

A: It doesn’t unfold aggressively, however there will likely be some spreading on account of self-seeding. 

Q: Is Pineleaf penstemon a perennial?

A: Sure, it’s an evergreen perennial with pretty 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 very best place to plant penstemon?

A: It’s greatest to plant penstemon in an space that receives a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct daylight per day in well-draining soil. It doesn’t prefer to be cramped in intently with different vegetation and prefers some elbow room. Attempt to mimic its native habitat and ideally plant in USDA zones 4-9 to adequately help it. 

Q: Do penstemons come again yearly?

A: Sure! They’re a short-lived perennial that may come again for a minimum of 3-5 years. 

Q: How do you winterize a penstemon?

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

Q: Do hummingbirds like penstemon?

A: Sure! Their tubular/bell-shaped flowers are excellent 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 way of early fall, from Could to October.

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