Penstemon newberryi ssp. newberryi

Submitted by Weiser on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 18:27

From the Sierra Nevada of California and Nevada we have Penstemon newberryi ssp. newberryi. This is a high elevation Penstemon. I find it growing on loose decomposed granite screes at 4,300-11,500 foot (1300-3500 meters) elevations. On these loose screes, the movement of the loose material will, over time cover the stems were they sprawl, these stems will root easily. The resulting mats can be several feet across. This also makes it a snap, to take rooted cuttings.
One of the joys in finding a stand in bloom comes from watching the little Black Chinned Hummingbirds, preform aerial acrobatic moves, while chasing off would be interlopers. Chirping and buzzing threats the whole time.

Again look for seed on the exchange!! :)


Submitted by penstemon on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 18:38

Seems to be hardy here, but it fries in our hot winter sun.
The strange thing is it seems not to mind being watered during the summer, despite dire warnings not to.
I no longer grow it. (That's fancy rock gardener talk for "I killed it and I wish I still had it.")


Submitted by Weiser on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 18:52

I have it planted in a crevice on the east face of a wall were it gets late afternoon shade. There is a drip line above it on the bank. It likes the little bit of moisture that peculates down.   

Submitted by RickR on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 20:17

So this species must be evergreen.

And John, who would be those would be interlopers that the hummingbirds dislike so?

Submitted by Weiser on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 20:47

Other Hummers and if you hang around too long , You may find yourself their target and get buzzed too. :o Not that I'm intimidated by them!! ;) ;D

Submitted by penstemon on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 22:18

The Rufous is particularly aggressive.
This year I had four Agastache 'Big Bazooka' (bubblegum scented foliage), four 'Coronado Red', two 'Coronado', two 'Rosita', 'Joyful', two dwarf cana type whose name I forget, about six Salvia greggii 'Furman's red', some 'Garnet Mine', 'Raspberry Delight', 'Grenadine', Stachys coccinea, Zauschneria Orange Carpet, Mtn. Flame, Wayne's Silver, Z. "latifolia viscosa", Penstemon cardinalis, P. rostriflorus, etc., all in bloom for the hummingbirds. I was very popular.
I hear that they remember, in those little bird brains, where the nectar is and will come looking for it next year.
I hope all the plants are alive then. (Probably not, but it was fun buying them.)


Submitted by Merlin on Sun, 05/25/2014 - 13:32

I used to think this was P. newberryi sonomensis but i am not so sure. I have had this plant for so long that i don't even remember where i collected the seeds. I am leaning toward P. cardwellii.

Jim I understand that variety newberryi sonomensis has intense red flowers. You may have to key it out to be sure of it's ID. P. cardwellii is a good possibility.