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Pink Plains Penstemon, Gilia Penstemon
Penstemon ambiguus


The southwest plays host to the pink plains penstemon, which inhabits a broad area on sandy mesas or grasslands of the Great Plains and at altitudes of 4000 to 6500 feet in the Texas panhandle area, north to New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Kansas, west to California and south into Mexico. It is airy, graceful and delicate-appearing, being herbaceous above with smooth and slender basally woody stems. Tubular white florets suffused with pink or lavender appear on loose panicles from May through August or later. In USDA hardiness zone 9, gilia penstemon may be evergreen and bloom all winter, while it will usually die back to the ground in colder areas. Leafless stems should be cut to 12 inches in late winter. It is likely to naturalize in sand where it may grow to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide with some irrigation, but may only grow to 1 foot tall in heavier soil. As with most penstemons, well-drained soil is a must. Pink plains penstemon quickly develops an extensive root system in the ground, but resents root confinement in pots where the plant looks spindly.

Plant Habit or Use: small shrub

Exposure: sun
partial sun

Flower Color: white to rose

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: ovoid 4-valved dehiscent capsule

Height: 1 to 4 feet

Width: 1 to 3 feet

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: alkaline

USDA Hardiness Zone: 6

Additional Comments:

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