Penstemon caespitosus

Common Name: beardtongue 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Plantaginaceae
Native Range: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 0.25 to 0.25 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Lavender-purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Superior soil drainage is the key to growing this plant well. Avoid wet, poorly-drained soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Penstemon caespitosus is native to Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. It is a mat-forming perennial that typically forms low tufts to 2” tall and spreads by slender, prostrate, creeping stems. Stems are clad with tiny, narrow, linear to spatulate leaves (to 1/2” long). Lavender-purple, two-lipped flowers (to 1/4” long) with hairy throats bloom in summer.

Genus name comes from the Greek words penta meaning five and stemon meaning stamen in reference to each flower having five stamens (four are fertile and one is sterile).

Specific epithet means growing in tufts, in reference to the plant habit.

Penstemons are sometimes commonly called beardtongues because the sterile stamen has a tuft of small hairs.


No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot may occur in wet, poorly-drained soils.


Sunny areas of rock gardens or native plant gardens.