The Many Faces of Penstemon

(upper L-R across & down: 'Pina Colada Series', 'Smooth Beardstongue', 'Pikes Peak' and 'Gray Beardtongue'

All four of the Penstemon in my garden were added in the past two years.  ‘Pina Colada’ & ‘Pike’s Peak’ were picked up at my local Walmart garden center on clearance last fall.  The other two were found at the Native Plant Sales.  ‘Smooth Beardstongue’ (white) was my first plant and I immediately fell in love with it. And who wouldn’t be crazy about the hummingbirds & butterflies it attracts to the garden.  The three little purple streaks inside the face of the bloom are so sweet.  The basil leaves are evergreen and it produces masses of flowers on stems about 2-3 ft tall every summer.  It will push out a few sporatic blooms later on in the season if deadheaded after the first flush.  My second purchase was the ‘Gray Beardstongue’ which didn’t do much the first season so I moved it to a shadier location where it is currently blooming its’ heart out.  The lavender blue flowers really brighten up the Woodland Garden Bed.  It’s basil rosette of leaves are also evergreen.  ‘Pikes Peak’ bloomed sporatically last fall after planting and I left the foliage standing over the winter only trimming back the dead & brown stuff this spring.  It prefers a sunnier location than the native varieties.  The deeper purple buds are a great addition to the New Garden Bed which is shades of purple and yellows.  ‘Pina Colada’ is a puny little specimen that might need a new location to make it happy.  It dies back completely to the ground pushing up new growth in April.  Sorry for the blurryness, this shade of pink proved difficult to capture on camera.  No matter the time of the day, plus it’s very small so I was literally on my stomach trying to take this shot.  🙂


17 responses to this post.

  1. I never met a penstemon I didn’t like! These are all so pretty Racquel. If the sun would come out here I think a couple of mine would open as well. Aren’t you so glad you added them?

    Neither have I so far Kathleen. 😉 Thank you, we finally got some much deserved rain last night and hopefully that will make a dramatic difference in my entire garden. I’m thrilled with what they add to the garden overall.


  2. I’ve never met a penstemon I don’t believe…very nice.

    Until a couple of years ago I had never grown Penstemon. Now I couldn’t imagine my garden without this wonderful perennial. Thanks Darla. 🙂


  3. Penstemon, were one of the very first perennials I grew from seed, just love them. Now after seeing this, I think I need more.

    Their a wonderful perennial. I couldn’t imagine my garden without them now. 🙂


  4. They are all so pretty! The hummers are an additional bonus and they are loving you for planting them!

    Thanks Tina. The hummers are the icing on the cake. 🙂


  5. I think the one in the lower left corner, Pike’s Peak (?) is my favorite.

    That is my favorite too Les. 🙂 (Yep Pike’s Peak)


  6. I’m definitely a fan! I was hoping our penstemon would return – it’s a borderline one. I’m not sure it did.

    I’m sorry to hear that Dave, you never know with the borderline hardy stuff.


  7. My “sour grapes” penstemon can’t seem to make up it’s mind what it wants to do. at least my Husker Red is getting ready to bloom.

    I love the name of your Penstemon, how funny. 🙂 I need to add a few more of these to my garden. Husker Red being one for sure.


  8. On your belly taking the picture? I need to see that….I am not the only one!! I like that one in the lower left corner with the dark purple stripes –gorgeous.

    LOL, and those gumballs weren’t making the situation either. 😉 That would be Pike’s Peak, my favorite.


  9. Thanks for sharing these, Racquel. I planted my first penstemons last year, but I have seeds for other varieties this spring–if it ever dries out here so I can plant them! I love all the dainty blooms on yours, but I’m most excited about seeing the hummingbirds I hope they will attract.

    I have some seeds that someone sent me that I didn’t plant yet. Thanks for reminding me Rose. 🙂 You guys have had alot of rain, we finally got some last night after weeks of nothing. It doesn’t bode well for this summer. Another great Hummingbird plant is Lobelia. I watched them last summer swarming mine.


  10. They’re all very pretty, Racquel. 🙂

    Thank you Nancy. 🙂


  11. We only have one Penstemon and it just flopps over everywhere. Do you have the same problem?

    Nope haven’t had that issue with the ones I have Randy. Try using one of those wire grids, I do that with my Phlox cause it will do that after a strong rainshower.


  12. Your photos are beautiful. I added two huskers red last year and both died over the winter.

    Thanks Marnie. Sorry to hear about your losses, that’s always heartbreaking when plants don’t survive.


  13. Posted by Nell Jean on May 13, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I met a native penstemon I had never seen at woods’ edge on Sunday. The tallest was less than 12″ tall. They resembled your Gray Beardstongue but not exactly. It is always exciting when something new turns up in gardens that nature plants.

    How cool is that, you should get a picture of it. I love my native specimens, their less work than their cultivar counterparts. 🙂


  14. Penstemon is a lovely addition to any garden. I grow them too. It will be a while before I see ours this season. Valerie

    Well then I’m glad you can enjoy mine now. 🙂 Thanks Valerie.


  15. They are very attractive plants and I like the variety of colours. I have never had a white one for some reason and I must remedy that. Yours looks lovely and the tiny bit of purple adds extra interest – should you be down on your knees to see it of course!

    Thanks EG. I really like the white too, but my favorite is the deep purple variety. 🙂


  16. They sure are pretty, aren’t they? I’m trying to propogate mine but we’ll see how successful that turns out to be…

    Yes they are Cinj. 🙂 Good luck with your propogating. Are you starting them from seed or cuttings?


  17. Your pictures are great Racquel! Glad to see these pictures. A friend of mine has a gardening husband who sent penstemon seeds to me. I just planted them–hope they come up!
    Have a great weekend!

    Thanks Linda. Good luck with your Penstemon seeds, hope they all germinate! 🙂


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