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Scarlet Bugler
Penstemon centranthifolius
About Scarlet Bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius) Nurseries Show All Photos Scarlet Bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius) is a native perennial herb that grows in northern, southern and central California. It has many straight, hairless, erect branches which may exceed one meter in maximum height. The thick, untoothed leaves may be up to 10 centimeters long and are arranged oppositely, with some pairs fused together about the stem. The top of the stem is occupied by a long inflorescence bearing narrow tubular flowers with small projecting lobes at the lips, the longest flowers 3 centimeters long. The flowers are bright red to orange-red and hairless all over, including the staminode.This perennial has gorgeous red flowers that are an absolute favorite with hummingbirds and when in bloom these plants are rarely seen without a hummingbird flitting about from blossom to blossom. It looks great in rock gardens and is very cold tolerant.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
2 - 4 ft (0.6 - 1.2 m)

Max. Width
1 ft (0.3 m)

Summer Deciduous

Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Openings in chaparral, slight slopes and flats, open areas in woodlands, seasonally moist meadows up to 6,500 ft.

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
4' - 8072'

Annual Precip. ?
3.4" - 47.2"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 3.08"

Coldest Month ?
32.7° F - 60.2° F

Hottest Month ?
60.2° F - 87.8° F

Humidity ?
0.78 vpd - 38.88 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates clay

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 15° F

Companion Plants
Many companions including Chamise (Adenostema fasciculatum), Manzanita (Arctostaphylos species), Ceanothus species, Bush Poppy (Dendromecon rigida), Bladderpod (Peritoma arborea), Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus species), Sages (Salvia species), Yucca (Hesperoyucca and Yucca sp.), succulents such as Dudleya sp., and various cactus species

Wildlife Attracted
native bees, bumblebees, butterflies, and especially hummingbirds

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
moderately easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist


Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Hummingbird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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