Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 10 Professionals
Common Name: beardtongue
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Plantaginaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil


Grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Needs full sun for best foliage color. Avoid wet, poorly-drained soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This penstemon cultivar is a clump-forming perennial which typically grows 2-3' tall. Features white (sometimes with a pink blush), two-lipped, tubular flowers borne in panicles atop erect, rigid stems. Flowers bloom mid-spring to early summer. Leaves are maroon (hence the cultivar name). 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. Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year (1996).


No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot can occur in wet, poorly-drained soils. Leaf spots are occasional problems. Flowering can be quite profuse and support is sometimes necessary.

Garden Uses

Mass in sunny borders. Also effective as accent or specimen.