Another stunning penstemon species for the Tucson and Green Valley areas is the Firecracker Penstemon, Penstemon eatoni. This native wildflower is found throughout the southwest, anywhere from 2000 to 7000 feet in elevation.
An early blooming penstemon species, you will see bright red flowers on top of dark, glossy green leaves in late winter or early spring (about February).
Use penstemons in your landscaping where you want to attract hummingbirds and have an early flower show. Placing penstemons among evergreen ground cover is a good way to hide dormancy, but since this is a shorter version of penstemon, only about a foot tall at maturity, do not place it behind shrubs unless they are also short. If the conditions are perfect, this penstemon will reseed itself.
All penstemons demand good drainage or they will rot. Do not over-water.
Reference: Mountain States Wholesale Nursery and Gregg Starr Nursery Plant Info Sheet, 1999.