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Foothill penstemon is native to coastal ranges from Mexico to Oregon. It commonly grows as an upright shrub in sage scrub and chaparral plant communities where it provides a delightful springtime display of purple and magenta flowers. A popular cultivar, P. h. 'Margarita BOP' is most commonly available from nurseries and has a spreading habit, 1-2 ft. high, with deep purple flowers.

Margarita foothill penstemon is a wonderful plant for California native gardens where it can be placed on banks, around boulders and mixed with a variety of native shrubs and perennials. It grows best in full sun, with good drainage, and low amounts of supplemental water during the summer.

Water Needs

The Margarita foothill penstemon is adapted to Inland Empire gardens in full sun and with low amounts of summer water. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; established plants need little summer irrigation.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Perennial, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Spreading
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.
Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Purple
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Rock gardens, Raised planters, Hummingbird plant, Flowering accent plant, Container plant, Borders, Banks, Attracts butterflies, Small spaces


Remove dead flower stalks after flowering in late Spring or Summer (1). Consider leaving some stocks on established plants to develop seed for wildlife food (S).



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