This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum “New Front Yard” series, 41 drought-tolerant and beautiful plants well adapted to our region.
Santa Margarita foothill penstemon
Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Margarita BOP’
Size: Under 1 foot
Bloom season: Spring and summer
Pruning needs: Little or none; remove old flower stalks
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks
Snapshot: This California native puts on an ever-changing show of rainbow hues. The flowers start as golden yellow buds, then open into bright blue blooms before fading to purple pink. Unlike many penstemons, this one thrives in home garden conditions. It attracts plenty of beneficial insects, too. You can see specimens in the arboretum’s Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants on the UC Davis campus.
• For more on the New Front Yard, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.
See photo galleries of the arboretum’s Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars at sacbee.com/home_garden.