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Penstemon pseudospectabilis (Desert Beardtongue)

Desert Penstemon, Desert Beardtongue, Rosy Desert Penstemon, Rosy Desert Beardtongue, Canyon Penstemon, Canyon Beardtongue, Mohave Penstemon, Mohave Beardtongue

Penstemon pseudospectabilis, Desert Penstemon, Desert Beardtongue, Rosy Desert Penstemon, Rosy Desert Beardtongue, Canyon Penstemon, Canyon Beardtongue, Mohave Penstemon, Mohave Beardtongue

Penstemon pseudospectabilis, also known as Desert Penstemon or Mojave Beardtongue, is a perennial herbaceous plant that is both visually striking and ecologically valuable.

Penstemon pseudospectabilis: An In-depth Look

Penstemon pseudospectabilis is noted for its vibrant pink to purple tubular flowers that cluster at the tips of tall, erect stems, creating a dramatic visual impact. Its gray-green foliage provides a complementary backdrop that highlights the vivid color of the blooms.

Native: This species is indigenous to the desert regions of the southwestern United States, particularly in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and southern California, thriving in its arid native habitats.

Plant Type and Habit: As a perennial, it exhibits a clumping habit, with multiple stems emerging from a single root system. The plant maintains a fairly upright posture with a bushy appearance.

Size: Typically, it reaches heights of 2-4 feet (60-120 cm) and can spread approximately 2 feet (60 cm) wide, presenting a balanced, rounded form in the landscape.

Flowers: The flowers are a significant feature, tubular in shape with a flared opening, resembling small trumpets. Their color can range from a rosy-pink to a more intense purple, often attracting the eye from a distance.

Bloom Time: Flowering occurs from spring into summer, depending on the local climate and conditions.

Foliage: The leaves are lanceolate, gray-green, and somewhat fleshy, arranged oppositely along the stem. They can remain on the plant throughout the winter in milder climates, providing year-round interest.

Uses: deal for xeriscaping and drought-tolerant gardens, it’s also used for erosion control, naturalistic desert landscaping, and as an ornamental in beds and borders due to its striking flowers and foliage.

Hardiness: Penstemon pseudospectabilis is exceptionally hardy, tolerating the temperature extremes of its native desert environment. It is suitable for USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9.

Pollinators: The flowers are a nectar source for hummingbirds and several species of bees, contributing to local biodiversity. Additionally, the seeds may provide a food source for certain birds.

Toxicity: There are no significant reports of toxicity to humans, pets, or livestock. However, as with any plant, it’s prudent to prevent ingestion and monitor those susceptible to allergies.

Deer and Rabbit: Generally, Penstemon pseudospectabilis is resistant to grazing by deer and rabbits, likely due to its somewhat leathery leaves and the plant’s natural habitat conditions.

Drought: One of the plant’s key strengths is its high drought tolerance. Once established, it requires minimal water, making it an excellent choice for water-wise landscaping.

Invasiveness: It is not known to be invasive. Its growth habit is well-contained, and it doesn’t typically spread beyond its original planting area.

Benefits: Environmental benefits include soil stabilization and the provision of food sources for local wildlife. Aesthetically, it adds vibrant color to dry landscapes, and its low water requirements make it a sustainable landscaping choice.

Penstemon Growing Tips

Light: Full sun to partial shade; more sun typically induces better blooming.

Soil: Well-draining soil is crucial; sandy or gravelly soils are ideal. Tolerates poor soils.. Avoid heavy, soggy soils.

Water: Drought-tolerant once established; water regularly but sparingly until established. 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 a possible secondary bloom; prune lightly to shape after blooming if necessary.

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: Sow seeds in late fall or early spring; stem cuttings in summer.

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 5 - 9
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Penstemon
Common names Penstemon, Beardtongue
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 24" (60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Southwest, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Rocky Mountains
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Bees, Hummingbirds, Birds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage
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Do I Need?
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Penstemon (Beardtongue)
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Alternative Plants to Consider

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

Recommended Companion Plants

Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy)
Ceanothus (California Lilac)
Lupinus (Lupine)

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 - 9
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Penstemon
Common names Penstemon, Beardtongue
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 24" (60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Southwest, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Rocky Mountains
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Bees, Hummingbirds, Birds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage
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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