Penstemon barbatus

Common Name: bearded penstemon 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Plantaginaceae
Native Range: Mexico, southern United States
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Rose red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Avoid wet, poorly-drained soils. Tolerant of drought and shallow, rocky soils. Remove spent flowering racemes to prolong bloom. Plants may be cut back to basal foliage after flowering to improve appearance of the planting.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Penstemon barbatus, commonly called bearded penstemon or beardlip penstemon, is native to rocky slopes and open woodlands from Utah and Colorado to Arizona, Texas and Mexico. It is a clump-forming perennial that typically grows 1.5-3’ tall. Loose terminal racemes of reddish-orange, two-lipped, tubular flowers (to 2” long) atop erect, rigid stems bloom from late spring well into summer. The lower, reflexed lip typically has a covering of dense yellow or white hairs. Clasping, narrow, lance-shaped to linear, willow-like, medium green stem leaves (2-6” long). Oblong to ovate basal foliage generally retains some green color over winter. The flowers are attractive to hummingbirds.

The genus name Penstemon likely comes from the Latin paene meaning "almost" or "nearly" and the Greek stemon meaning "stamen". The name may also comes from the Greek penta meaning "five" and stemon meaning "stamen". Both refer to the fifth, sterile stamen (staminode) that characterizes members of this genus.

Specific epithet means bearded or with long weak hairs.


No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot can occur in wet, poorly-drained soils. Leaf spots and rusts may also occur.


Sunny areas of borders or rock gardens. Naturalize in cottage gardens, native plant gardens, grassy areas and open woodland areas.