Penstemon 'Margarita BOP'

MBop2Seeing a mass of blue flowers in the summer garden is like a deep drink of cool water on a hot afternoon. And few perennials do blue better than Penstemon ‘Margarita BOP’.

‘Margarita BOP’ is a natural hybrid of two native Penstemons (P. heterophylla and P. laetus) and was discovered by the late Bert Wilson of Las Pilitas Nursery in Santa Margarita, CA, where it had volunteered at the base of his porch (the BOP in ‘Margarita BOP’ stands for ‘Bottom Of Porch’). Plants are long-lived, have a long bloom season, and are very drought tolerant once established.

Surprisingly enough for such a blue flower, the flower buds start off as pale yellow with a rosy base. But once the buds have opened, the flowers are a gorgeous shade of deep violet-blue. Plants are evergreen, and get to around 2’ by 2’ at maturity. The tubular shape of the flowers makes them extremely popular with hummingbirds, who are their primary pollinators. They’re also a favorite of bumblebees, who often bite their way into the base of the flower to steal some nectar (without providing any pollination services…). Let’s face it, Margarita BOP is just plain irresistible!

MargaritaBOP1‘Margarita BOP’ prefers full sun and well drained soil, and plants are relatively deer resistant. Plant them en masse for a truly gasp-worthy effect, or combine with other drought-tolerant sun lovers like Erigeron, Zauschneria, Eriogonum, Monardella, Agastache, Salvia, or Eriophyllum lanatum.