Penstemon eatonii, Firecracker Penstemon, is similar to Penstemon centranthifolius, in that most leaves are arranged in a low rosette next to the ground, and the flowers are borne on vertical flowering stalks 1 ft. to 4 ft. high, but without the waxy blue coating on leaves and the leaves are more rounded. Native to southwest desert mountains commonly in openings between Pinyon Pines.
Penstemon eatonii needs good drainage and some water in spring and fall; giving the plant some indirect summer watering will help it stay evergreen in late summer. Firecracker Penstemon, with red tubular flowers, is one of the showier Penstemons, and tolerates shade, likes sun.
This Penstemon is a cute little perennial to add into a rock garden or border planting.
Firecracker Penstemon was used by Native Americans for the treatment of: spider bites, stomach troubles, to reduce bleeding, backache, snakebite, as a veterinary aid, and for healing of burns (Native American Ethnobotany Database)
Its showy flowers attract pollinators and other insects which provide a food source for birds and other animals. The fibrous root system and wide canopy cover make it a good plant for low-water use
When growing Penstemons from seed, be sure to cold stratify the seeds prior to sowing or sow them in fall to provide the winter chilling that will seed break dormancy. A simple stratification method is to put seeds between layers of moist paper towel inside a partially sealed zip lock bag and place the bag in the refrigerator for one or two months. Make sure the paper towel stays moist but not wet and sow the seeds gently in pots or prepared soil.
Penstemons do best on well-drained soils. Most ecotypes do well on infertile, disturbed soils. They have excellent cold winter and drought tolerance. They will tolerate weakly saline to weakly acidic sites.
Ideal seeding depth is 1/8 inch.
Packet 30-40 seeds. $4.00