Penstemon digitalis 'Pocahontas'
Common Name: beardtongue 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Plantaginaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Lavender pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Leaf: Colorful
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil


Best grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerant of occasional drought and inundation once established. Can be grown in clay soils but avoid overly wet, poorly drained conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Penstemon digitalis, commonly called foxglove beardtongue or tall white beardtongue, 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 and are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators. Basal leaves are elliptic and stem leaves are lance-shaped to oblong.

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.

The specific epithet digitalis refers to the genus Digitalis, the members of which are often called foxgloves, and the flowers of which this species is thought to superficially resemble.

The common names of this species refer to the appearance of its flowers and growth habit. Penstemons are sometimes commonly called beardtongues because the sterile stamen (staminode) can be hairy.

'Pocahontas' was introduced by Intrinsic Perennial Gardens of Hebron, Illinois. It was bred from a Penstemon digitalis selection with dark burgundy red foliage as the female parent and Penstemon digitalis ‘Pink Dawn’ as the male parent. It has burgundy red stems with dark burgundy leaves and clusters of tubular lavender pink flowers. ‘Pocohontas’ grows 3 to 4 ft. tall and 2 to 3 ft. wide. U.S. Plant Patent #24,804 awarded August 19, 2014.


Root rot can occur in wet, poorly-drained soils. Leaf spots are occasional problems. Can spread somewhat aggressively in a garden setting. Deer tend to avoid this plant.


Mass in sunny borders, rain gardens, wild gardens, native plant gardens or naturalized areas. Excellent for fresh cut flower arrangements.