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Gay Penstemon
Penstemon laetus
  
About Gay Penstemon (Penstemon laetus) 2 Nurseries Carry This Plant Penstemon laetus is a species of penstemon in the Plantaginaceae (Plantain) family known by the common names Gay Penstemon and Mountain Blue Penstemon. It is native to the inland mountains of Oregon and California, where its distribution extends from the Klamath Mountains through the Sierra Nevada to the Transverse Ranges. It is found at elevations from 750 ft. to over 8,000 ft. where grows in forest, scrub, and other mountain habitats. It is a perennial herb growing erect to about 75 centimeters tall, its base becoming woody. The leaves are linear to lance-shaped and up to 10 centimeters long. The hairy flower cluster bears blue or purple flowers up to 3.5 centimeters long. The wide-mouthed tubular or funnel-shaped flower is hairy on the outer surface and mostly hairless on the inside. There are two recognized varieties in California, all commonly known as Mountain Blue Penstemon.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Size
Size
2 - 2.5 ft tall
2 ft wide

Form
Form
Upright

Growth Rate
Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate

Fragrance
Fragrance
Slight

Flower Color
Flower Color
Blue, Lavender, Purple, White

Flowering Season
Flowering Season
Spring

Wildlife Supported
 
Hummingbirds are attracted to the tubular flowers. Many insects are attracted, including bees and butterflies. Penstemons generally are host plants for the Arachne Checkerspot, Chalcedon Checkerspot, and Common Buckeye butterflies.

Landscaping Information
Sun
Sun
Full Sun, Part Shade

Summer Irrigation
Summer Irrigation
Max 1x / month once established

Nurseries
Nurseries

Ease of Care
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Cold Tolerance
Cold Tolerance
Tolerates cold to -10° F

Soil Drainage
Soil Drainage
Fast, Medium

Soil Description
Soil Description
Prefers sandy or loamy soils. Does not grow well in clay soils.. Soil PH: 6.0 - 8.0

Common uses
Common uses
Deer Resistant, Hummingbird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Companion Plants
Companion Plants

Propagation
Propagation?
For propagating by seed: No treatment; 2-3 mos. stratification may improve germination.

Natural Setting
Site Type
Site Type
Spring-moist places

Climate
Climate
Annual Precipitation: 6.1" - 155.7", Summer Precipitation: 0.17" - 5.92", Coldest Month: 24.6" - 54.1", Hottest Month: 45.5" - 78.2", Humidity: 0.52" - 29.07", Elevation: 177" - 11310"

Alternative Names
Common Names: Mountain Blue Penstemon


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora


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