Create Your Garden

Penstemon pallidus (Pale Beardtongue)

Pale Penstemon, Pale Beardtongue, Penstemon arkansanus var. pubescens, Penstemon brevisepalus

Penstemon pallidus, Pale Penstemon

Penstemon pallidus, commonly known as Pale Beardtongue, is a remarkable plant species often celebrated for its resilient nature and the delicate beauty it adds to any landscape.

Penstemon pallidus: An In-depth Look

Penstemon pallidus is characterized by its pale, almost white flowers, which are elegantly shaped with a tubular form, typical of the Penstemon genus. The stems are slender, often with a delicate covering of fine hairs.

Native: This species is native to North America, specifically the central and eastern United States. It’s commonly found in prairies, open woodlands, and along roadside areas.

Plant Type and Habit: This perennial plant is herbaceous, with an upright growth habit. It’s known for its hardiness and ability to thrive in conditions that might be challenging for other plants.

Size: Penstemon pallidus typically grows to a height of about 18 to 30 inches (45 to 75 cm) and has a spread of around 12- 18 inches (30-45 cm).

Flowers: The flowers are tubular, pale lilac to white, with a purple-tinged interior and slightly hairy exterior. They are small but arranged in attractive, dense clusters. After flowering, the plant produces small, inconspicuous seed capsules that contain numerous tiny seeds, facilitating its spread in suitable habitats.

Bloom Time: The blooming period for this species extends from mid-spring to mid-summer, offering a delightful display that lasts for several weeks.

Foliage: From a rosette of basal leaves emerges a central stem, adorned with medium green, lance-shaped leaves, 2 inches long (5 cm) that partially clasp the stem.

Uses: Beyond its ornamental value, Penstemon pallidus is used in restoration projects, native plant gardens, and pollinator gardens. It is ideal for sunny borders, rock gardens, cottage gardens, open woodland areas or xeriscaping due to its drought tolerance.

Hardiness: This plant is hardy and can withstand challenging conditions, including temperatures well below freezing. It’s suitable for USDA zones 4-8. It is also tolerant of summer heat and humidity.

Pollinators: The tubular flowers are known to attract various pollinators, especially bees and butterflies. Additionally, the plant’s seeds provide a food source for certain bird species.

Toxicity: There are no significant concerns regarding the toxicity of Penstemon pallidus to humans or animals. However, it’s always advisable to exercise caution and ensure that pets and children don’t ingest plants not meant for consumption.

Deer and Rabbit: Penstemon pallidus has a degree of resistance to deer and rabbits, which tend to avoid it due to its slightly bitter taste.

Drought: One of the key features of Penstemon pallidus is its drought tolerance. Once established, it requires minimal water, making it perfect for water-conservative landscapes.

Invasiveness: Though it can spread through its seeds, Penstemon pallidus is not considered invasive. Its growth is usually contained within its native or adapted regions.

Penstemon Growing Tips

Light: refers full sun to partial shade. Around 6 hours of direct sunlight is ideal for vibrant blooms.

Soil: Thrives in well-draining soil; tolerates a range of soil types, including sandy or rocky soils. Avoid overly moist or waterlogged conditions.

Water: Drought-tolerant once established; water regularly until established, then reduce. Overwatering can lead to root rot.

Fertilizer: Penstemon plants generally do not require heavy fertilization and can thrive in relatively lean soil conditions. However, providing them with a light application of an organic fertilizer in the fall can help boost their growth and flowering potential.

Pruning: Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming. Cut back plants in late autumn or early spring to promote vigorous growth.

Mulching: Mulching Penstemon can help regulate ground temperature and suppress weed growth. Choose a mulch that does not hold water. Use organic materials like shredded bark, compost, or pine straw. Avoiding direct contact with the stems to prevent rot and pest issues.

Propagation: Can be propagated by seed in autumn or spring, or by division in spring.

Pests and Diseases: Generally pest-resistant, but watch for aphids and spider mites. Fungal diseases can occur in overly wet conditions; ensure good air circulation and avoid overhead watering to prevent issues like powdery mildew, leaf spot, and root rot. Rust can cause small, rust-colored pustules on leaves and stems, leading to defoliation and stunted growth.

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 4 - 8
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Penstemon
Common names Penstemon, Beardtongue
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid)
Height 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 12" - 18"
(30cm - 50cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Midwest, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Southeast, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Dry Soil
Attracts Bees, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles 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

Alternative Plants to Consider

Penstemon pseudospectabilis (Desert Beardtongue)
Penstemon parryi (Parry’s Beardtongue)
Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’ (Foothill Beardtongue)
Penstemon ‘Evelyn’ (Beardtongue)
Penstemon ovatus (Eggleaf Beardtongue)
Penstemon canescens (Eastern Gray Beardtongue)

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.
Buy Plants

Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 8
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Penstemon
Common names Penstemon, Beardtongue
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid)
Height 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 12" - 18"
(30cm - 50cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Midwest, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Southeast, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Dry Soil
Attracts Bees, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles 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

Gardening Ideas

Plant Calculator

How many Penstemon pallidus (Pale Beardtongue) do I need for my garden?

Input your garden space dimensions

Your Shopping List

Plant Quantity
Penstemon pallidus (Pale Beardtongue) N/A Buy Plants

Please Login to Proceed

You Have Reached The Free Limit, Please Subscribe to Proceed

Subscribe to Gardenia

To create additional collections, you must be a paid member of Gardenia
  • Add as many plants as you wish
  • Create and save up to 25 garden collections
Become a Member

Plant Added Successfully

You have Reached Your Limit

To add more plants, you must be a paid member of our site Become a Member

Update Your Credit
Card Information

Cancel

Create a New Collection

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

    You have been subscribed successfully

    Join Gardenia.net

    Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

    Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

    Join now and start creating your dream garden!

    Join Gardenia.net

    Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

    Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

    Join now and start creating your dream garden!

    Find your Hardiness Zone

    Find your Heat Zone

    Find your Climate Zone