Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Penstemon heterophyllus 'Margarita BOP'

Common Name
Blue Bedder/Foothills Penstemon
CA Native
California Native
Plant Type
22" x 30"
Flower Color
Blue to Purplish-Pink
Bloom Time
  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Spring through Fall
Bluish-Green Small Leaves
Deer Resistant
Rarely Damaged
Wildlife Value
  • Attracts Beneficial Insects
  • Bees
  • Hummingbirds
  • Seed and Fruit for Birds
Growth Rate
Adverse Growth Factors
Special Features
  • Low Maintenance
  • Showy Flowers
Water Use
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Low
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
  • Full Sun
Soil Type
Not Particular
Well Drained
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

Penstemon Margarita BOP is a small mounding perennial with dense, bluish-green foliage and opalescent blue to pinkish-purple flowers. Water, soil and sunlight can change the color of the flower but they usually start out blue  gradually turning to a pinkish-purple. Flowers can appear as early as March and continue blooming into the late fall if trimmed back and given occassional water. Beautiful when planted in mass with native grasses, California poppies, Achillea 'Moonshine' and the pink coneflower.

Plant above soil grade in a sunny location with good drainage. Tolerates a slightly acid to neutral soil. This plant is drought tolerant  can be used for xeriscaping. If you continue to water it throughout the summer it will bloom well into the fall. Trim back in late winter to keep them compact. These plants are very long-lived and have been known to live for up to 20 years in well- drained soils.

This plant is attractive to bees, beneficial insects, and hummingbirds. Seeds are eaten by songbirds and the foliage creates cover from predators.

No known diseases or pests.


Master Gardener Comments

This is one of my favorite plants. It is one of the smaller penstemon but the flowers are the most beautiful blue, almost luminous. A very heavy bloomer. The plants are compact and if given water will bloom for just about forever. I finally cut them back in December. However, in a drought year they can be left on their own with minimal water and still survive.


Penstemon 'Blackbird' - deep rasberry colored flowers

Penstemon 'Hidcote Pink' - soft salmon pink with white throats

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