Penstemon Plant Features
The bright, nectar-rich flowers of penstemon, occasionally called beardtongue, will lure flocks of hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden. An easy-care North American native plant, penstemon tolerates heat and drought and looks amazing when planted in large groups or drifts in beds and borders. In fact, penstemon is a good substitute for perennials such as delphinium that aren't as tolerant of hot, dry conditions. Penstemon varieties vary in cold tolerance so read the plant label before you buy. Colors include white, rose, red, blue, purple, and bi-color. Generally hardy from zones 4-9.
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Penstemon Growing Instructions
Penstemon requires a sunny location that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. It likes well-drained soil and will fail if forced to sit in wet or mucky conditions. Remove penstemon flowers as they fade to promote additional flushes of bloom.
Some varieties of penstemon are naturally short-lived; allowing them to develop a few seeds will encourage the plants to self sow and reappear in your landscape for years.
Penstemon is not recommended for human or animal consumption.
Blue, Pink, Purple, Red, White
Medium water needs
Complement your Penstemon with these varieties:
Penstemon and Lavender have similar needs and thrive planted together in well drained soil.
Double the number of butterflies in your garden by teaming Penstemon and Butterfly Weed in the same bed.
Catmint and Penstemon are a great pair for gardens where rainfall is infrequent.
Varieties: Our Favorites
Penstemon hartwegii 'Arabesque Pink'
Arabesque Pink is a summer-blooming flower with spikes of light pink flowers. It's easy to grow, tolerates drought, and attracts butterflies. Arabesque Pink grows 30 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Zones 7-9
Penstemon hartwegii 'Arabesque Red'
Grown as an annual or perennial, this easy flower for sun shines in the garden with spikes of red flowers that have white throats. It grows 30 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Zones 7-9
Penstemon hartwegii 'Arabesque Violet'
Arabesque Violet is a sun-loving flower that shows off spikes of violet-purple flowers that have white centers. It's a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds. This variety grows 30 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Zones 7-9 -- or grow it as an annual.
Penstemon 'Delft Blue Riding Hood'
Delft Blue Riding Hood penstemon attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, but resists drought and deer. It grows 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Zones 5-9
Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'
Who can resist the eye-catching maroon foliage and tall graceful spikes of white flowers of ‘Husker Red’ penstemon? It’s a snap to grow and attracts hordes of butterflies with its nectar-rich blooms. Award-winning ‘Husker Red’ grows 2 to 3 feet tall. Zones 3-8
Penstemon hartwegii 'Phoenix Red'
The bright red flowers with white throats of ‘Phoenix Red’ penstemon will lure hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden all summer long. Growing 18 to 24 inches tall, ‘Phoenix Red’ is drought tolerant and deer resistant. Zones 9-11
Penstemon 'Pink Riding Hood'
Pink Riding Hood is a flower that attracts hummingbirds. A perfect full-sun perennial, it shows off pink flowers from late spring to late summer if the faded blooms are removed. It grows 24 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Zones 5-8
Penstemon 'Red Riding Hood'
If you love hummingbirds add a generous helping of ‘Red Riding Hood’ penstemon to your garden. It’s nectar-rich, tubular scarlet flowers are tailor-made to meet the needs of every hungry hummingbird in your neighborhood. The plants grow 24 to 30 inches tall and bloom much of the summer. Zones 5-9
Penstemon 'Red Rocks'
Red Rcoks penstemon is a must-have plant if you want to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It shows off reddish-pink flowers all summer long and grows 18 inches tall and wide. Zones 4-8