Native To Know: Penstemon ‘Beard Tongue’

img 1629 225x300 Native To Know: Penstemon ‘Beard Tongue’

Native plants are notoriously tolerant of both the wet spring weather, and the droughts that stretch through the North American summer months, and Beard Tongue (Penstemon) is an airy example of drought tolerance that has the appearance of an English garden staple.

Penstemon comes in hundred of cultivars, but the original native varieties generally are sold under the name “Beard Tongue.” A full or partial sun perennial, this plant is easily grown from seed, or as a live plant.  It does well in naturalized areas near woodlines, or in meadow since it doesn’t need too much water to thrive, and fits in well with other formal garden plants like Lavender, Roses, Daisies, and Purple Coneflowers.

What You’ll Love:

  • Drought tolerance that allows you to spend less time fussing over your flowers and more time enjoying them.
  • Large bouquet-ready flowers that bloom over the course of a week and then last for several more in the garden or in a vase.
  • A mature height of up to four feet tall, making this a great plant to fill in those tough “back row” flower spots.
  • Deer resistance.  Deer will not touch in particular the variety Penstemon strictus.

What It Gives Back To The Environment:

  • This is a great addition to a hummingbird, or butterfly themed garden area.  The deeply throated blooms attract pollinators and birds alike with their nectar and sweet smell.

For those of you looking to integrate more North American Native plants to your yard, or even your “green roof,” Beard Tongue is an excellent addition.  Check with your local garden center for availability or go online and order a specimen plant or seeds to start this plant on your own.

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  1. The gardens around my apartment have that variety of pentsemon. The hummers do like it, but they go for the red pineapple sage flowers first. The butterflies on the other hand…can’t get enough of the pentsemon. I saw a monarch on the plant near my front door just this morning. It was huge! Like the size of my fist!

  2. Crystal says:

    Happy I found your blog! I’m a new homeowner in the D.C. area, and definitely I’m always looking for native and low-maintenance plants that will attract butterflies and birds. I’d like to creat a mailbox garden for next spring, and so this is a plant that I will consider adding.

  3. Amy says:

    Good to know another local! I have mine near my mailbox as well. Best of luck in your design!

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