Not Penstemon utahensis...

Submitted by Broekhuis on Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:58

Ugh, I should just give up on trading for penstemon seed. It never turns out to be what it's labeled! But of course, usually it does produce a pretty plant, so maybe I shouldn't complain. In any case, the second-year plants that just started blooming are most definitely not P. utahensis. They also don't quite match any of the penstemons I've grown previously. Willing to venture a guess as to which species it is?


Submitted by Lori S. on Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:05

Ha!  I almost knew without even opening the message that it would be Penstemon hirsutus and it is!  I swear, nine out of ten misidentified seedex penstemons turn out to be Penstemon hirsutus!

Aargh, of course it is. I should have known. I was thrown off by the sparse habit of these plants, which looks quite different from the stands of P. hirsutus I already have, but that's likely just because of the age and growing conditions. Flowers are indeed a good match.

And yes, that makes at least the third time I've gotten seed for P. hirsutus labeled as different species :)

Yikes!  Can I send you some penstemon seed this year (guaranteed to be the real thing, I promise!), just to restore your faith in humanity?  ;-)

Sure, I'm always looking for an opportunity to trade. Truth be told, most penstemons I manage to grow from seed don't come through the winter anyway, but I like to try. Of course it's the same thugs that manage to survive every year :-)

David and Rob, please do send me your addresses when you have time... no rush, as it will be a long time before the seed can be collected.

Rob, if your penstemons are not generally wintering over, drainage is likely the problem.  If you have access to it (e.g. library?), Bob Nold's Penstemons is an absolutely excellent guide to growing penstemons, as well as a superb resource for descriptions of the vast number of penstemon species.  One of the best books I own!! 

Submitted by Normann on Mon, 07/17/2017 - 02:22

Had this little gem in flower for the first time this year (2017). Hopefully it is Penstemon uintahensis? Seed from NARGS–3465 2014.

Submitted by deesen on Tue, 07/18/2017 - 07:04

I can't tell you what it is Normann but according to my now well-thumbed copy of Bob Nold's book "Penstemons" (Timber Press- 1999) P. utahensis has red or reddish- pink flowers and wider leaves than does your plant..


LATER: after having done more reading, perhaps it is P. uintahensis easy to get that label wrong!