SteppeSuns® Sunset Glow Penstemon: Don’t Let The Sun Set Without This Gem in Your Garden

SteppeSuns Sunset Glow Penstemon
Photo by Emily Goldman

Our incredible western sunsets just happen. On the right evening, we look up and there’s a sunset in all its glory with no effort on our part. Creating SteppeSuns® Sunset Glow Penstemon required a bit more work but is similarly breathtaking. Mike Bone, Associate Director of Horticulture at the Denver Botanic Gardens, made selections from seedlings for over 20 years to find the plant with the right flower, color and form to bring the color of the sunset to your garden. 

The resulting plant is a wonderful addition to garden beds including pollinator gardens and xeric gardens. The evergreen foliage is reminiscent of short pine needles which are covered with tubular, soft-orange flowers in early summer, persisting until early fall– plenty of time to provide sustenance to hummingbirds and native bees. Pair it with other plants in sunset colors like Silver Blade® Evening Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa ssp incana) and Windwalker® Royal Red Salvia (Salvia darcyi x S. microphylla ‘PWIN03S’). Or provide contrast with blue and purple perennials including Cape-Forget-Me-Not (Anchusa capensis) or silvery foliage like Silverheels Horehound (Marrubium rotundifolium). 


Full sun and dry conditions are perfect for this plant native to Arizona, New Mexico and the Western Slope and Four Corners regions of Colorado. Tidy it up in the spring by hand trimming off any brown stems, then enjoy the sunset all summer long. 


Height: 12-18”

Width: 18-24”

Blooms: Mid spring to fall

Sun: Sun

Soil Moisture: Dry/xeric to moderate

Hardiness: USDA zones 5-8

Culture: Loam, sandy

Elevation: Up to 8125 feet

View the plant profile here. 

Thanks to Bev Shaw of Plant Select® for this piece.

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