Penstemon spectabilis has no common name, but it has all the characteristics of the many penstemon species suitable for desert landscaping in the Tucson and Green Valley areas.
This penstemon has lovely bluish-purple flowers on tall stalks. They appear in about April and last through June. Hummingbirds love this plant as they do all penstemons.
Use penstemon species in your hummingbird garden, or intersperse in your desert landscaping. Using larger shrubs with a different leaf color as a backdrop is an excellent way to show off the plant when it is in full bloom.
Always plant penstemons where soils have excellent drainage. They tend to rot out not only if overwatered, but if planted in heavy clay soils. They can take full sun, but also do well in filtered shade such as underneath our native Velvet Mesquite or Palo Verde.
Reference: Mountain States Wholesale Nursery and Gregg Starr Nursery Plant Info Sheet, 1999.