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Penstemon cobaea (Prairie Beardtongue)

Prairie Penstemon, Prairie Beardtongue, Foxglove Penstemon, Foxglove Beardtongue, False Foxglove, Large-flowered Penstemon, Large-flowered Beardtongue, Cobaea Penstemon, Cobaea Beardtongue, Wild Foxglove

Penstemon cobaea,  Prairie Penstemon, Prairie Beardtongue, Foxglove Penstemon, Foxglove Beardtongue, False Foxglove, Large-flowered Penstemon, Large-flowered Beardtongue, Cobaea Penstemon, Cobaea Beardtongue, Wild Foxglove

A real standout in the landscape, Penstemon cobaea (Prairie Beardtongue) is a clump-forming perennial boasting loose panicles of large, white to violet to deep purple flowers in mid to late spring. The tubular flowers, 2 in. long (5 cm), are larger than most penstemons, and they cover at least half the stems. They attract scores of hummingbirds, butterflies, moths and other beneficial pollinators. The blossoms are borne on stout stems bearing downy, lance-shaped, paired leaves. Easy to grow, fuss-free, water-wise, it is perfect for the sunny rock garden.

  • Grows up to 12-24 in. tall (30-60 cm) and 12-18 in. wide (30-45 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils. Drought tolerant once established.
  • Provides a charming impact in beds and borders, cottage gardens, rock gardens. Plant in bold groupings.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Susceptible to root rot in wet, poorly-drained soils.
  • Cut back the stems after flowering, or wait for the seeds to ripen.
  • Propagation by seed. Easily raised from seed (blooms second year). Germination is best with cold-moist stratification.
  • Native from Nebraska through the southern Great Plains to Texas.

Penstemon: How to Grow and Care with Success


Properly growing Penstemon ensures robust, vibrant blooms and foliage, enhances garden biodiversity by attracting pollinators, prevents disease, and maintains plant health. Thriving plants provide longer-lasting beauty and environmental benefits, contributing positively to local ecosystems and the aesthetic value of your landscape.

Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 8
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Penstemon
Common names Penstemon, Beardtongue
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Height 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 18" - 24"
(50cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained, Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Hummingbirds, Bees
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Informal and Cottage, Gravel and Rock Garden
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Penstemon (Beardtongue)
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Penstemon pallidus (Pale Beardtongue)
Penstemon pseudospectabilis (Desert Beardtongue)
Penstemon parryi (Parry’s Beardtongue)
Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’ (Foothill Beardtongue)
Penstemon ‘Evelyn’ (Beardtongue)
Penstemon ovatus (Eggleaf Beardtongue)

Recommended Companion Plants

Oenothera macrocarpa (Ozark Sundrops)
Callirhoe involucrata (Purple Poppy Mallow)
Echinacea angustifolia (Narrow-leaf Coneflower)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

35 Flowering Shrubs That Thrive in Full Sun
Penstemon and Pollinators: A Harmonious Dance in the Garden
Thriving in Thirst: Colorful Penstemons for Water-Wise Landscapes
Penstemon: How to Grow and Care with Success
Penstemon (Beardtongue)
For the Love of Bees: Best Flowers to Attract them to Your Garden
How to Cultivate a Thriving Bee-Friendly Garden
Best Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 8
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Penstemon
Common names Penstemon, Beardtongue
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Height 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 18" - 24"
(50cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained, Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Hummingbirds, Bees
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Informal and Cottage, Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Penstemon (Beardtongue)
Not sure which Penstemon (Beardtongue) to pick?
Compare Now

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