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SW Montana is the northern edge of this gorgeous penstemon's natural range, yet it does well in cultivation. The flowers are very unique: large deep purple bell-shaped blossoms hang in clusters from tall stems. Occasionally they are maroon to almost black, and rarely white.


Its preferred habitat of moist open meadows, woodland, and talus slopes make it a good candidate for an irrigated space or rock garden. It's probably our tallest and most moisture-adapted penstemon, but still requires well-drained soils. This species typically grows at higher elevations, so if you are in a valley consider planting it where it will get afternoon shade.


For companions consider sticky geranium, large-leaf avens, white sage, cow parsnip, and baneberry.



Image credits:

1. Scott Loarie, CC BY 2.0

2. Leyo, CC BY-SA 2.5 CH




dusky penstemon

  • Penstemon whippleanus

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