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Penstemon digitalis (beardtongue)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Penstemon digitalis

beardtongue or smooth white Penstemon

In early summer, white or light-pink-tinted, tubular 1" flowers on branching, hollow stalks rise above a basal rosette of lustrous dark green leaves. Drought tolerant, tough as nails, and deer resistant. The tubular flowers make an excellent landing pad for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds alike!

SIZE
Penstemon digitalis LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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Height

3-4 Feet

Spread

18 Inches

Spacing

12 Inches

Bloom Color

White

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

beardtongue Interesting Notes

Penstemon digitalis is a clump-forming, Missouri-native perennial which typically grows 3-5' tall and occurs in prairies, fields, wood margins, open woods and along railroad tracks. Features white, two-lipped, tubular flowers (to 1.25" long) borne in panicles atop erect, rigid stems. Flowers bloom mid-spring to early summer. Basal leaves are elliptic and stem leaves are lance-shaped to oblong. Penstemon in Greek means five stamens (four are fertile and one is sterile). Penstemon is sometimes commonly called beard tongue because the sterile stamen has a tuft of small hairs.

Genus name comes from the Greek pente meaning five and stemon meaning stamen in reference to the flowers having five stamens.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin digitus meaning finger for flowers that look like the finger of a glove. - Missouri Botanical Garden

Penstemon digitalis Growing and Maintenance Tips

Prefers average to moist, well-drained soil in full to partial sun. Penstemon digitalis is drought tolerant but grows poorly in heavy clay soils. Great for wild and perennial gardens, xeriscaping as well as naturalized areas.

Good Substitutions

beardtongue Penstemon 'Blackbeard'
beardtongue Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Hummingbird-friendly
Hummingbird-friendly
Songbird-friendly
Songbird-friendly
Pollinator-friendly
Pollinator-friendly
Cut Flower
Cut Flower
Salt Tolerance
Salt Tolerance
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Average
Well-Drained
Dry
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Spring / Early Summer
Green Infrastructure
Green Roof
Meadow/Prairie
Attributes
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Open pollinated