california native flora

a drought tolerant patio garden of mostly natives

Royal Penstemon Journal

Penstemon Spectabilis – Royal (or Showy) Penstemon

Apr 10, 2010. - Penstemon Spectabilis - Royal Penstemon
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Royal Penstemon is the king of Southern California penstemons. The flower show is spectacular with spikes up to 4′ covered with bright, almost glowing blue/purple blooms. In my garden I found out the hard way that this perennial must have very good drainage and full sun. In a planter it will grow well but some type of fast draining succulent soil mix and maybe some extra holes in the base will help.

In favorable conditions Penstemon Spectabilis is fast growing and long lived. It can grow is tall as 4′ with a similar spread. This drought tolerant California native is very sensitive to moisture so one must be careful not to overwater. The symptoms of overwatering and underwatering are unfortunately very similar to each other so you may go through a few specimens before you figure out how best to look after this plant. Don’t get disheartened though, the results are well worth the extra effort.

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Plant Meta Data

Common NameRoyal Penstemon
Botanic NamePenstemon Spectabilis
Bloom PeriodSpringSummer
Bloom Color
Light RequiredSun
Water ToleranceOccassional
Potential Size (H x W)3' x 5'
NotesAttracts SongbirdsAttracts HummingbirdsAttracts Bees


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Apr 10, 2010. - Penstemon Spectabilis - Royal PenstemonSep 25, 2010. - Penstemon Spectabilis - Royal Penstemon. 8 week old seedling.Aug 1, 2010. - Penstemon Spectabilis - Royal Penstemon. Been dormant for a few months, seeds developing.April 10, 2010. - Penstemon Spectabilis - Royal Penstemon