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Penstemon speciosus (Royal Penstemon)

Royal Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Sagebrush Penstemon, Sagebrush Beardtongue, Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi

Penstemon speciosus, Royal Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Sagebrush Penstemon, Sagebrush Beardtongue, Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi, Blue Penstemon, Blue Beardtongue
Penstemon speciosus, Royal Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Sagebrush Penstemon, Sagebrush Beardtongue, Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi, Blue Penstemon, Blue Beardtongue
Penstemon speciosus, Royal Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue, Sagebrush Penstemon, Sagebrush Beardtongue, Penstemon speciosus ssp. kennedyi, Blue Penstemon, Blue Beardtongue

Penstemon speciosus (Royal Penstemon) is a clump-forming perennial with several ascending to erect stems boasting charming wands of sky blue flowers, 1.5 in. long (4 cm), in late spring to mid-summer. The blossoms attract bees, butterflies, and numerous pollinators. Arising from a branched caudex, the stems are clad with oppositely arranged, narrow, spoon-shaped leaves, up to 6 in. long (15 cm). Royal Penstemon is a good plant for water-wise landscaping, rock gardens, desert gardens, and other ornamental plantings. Royal Penstemon is also chiefly used in wildlife habitat enhancement projects and restoration efforts.

  • Grows up to 2-3 ft. tall and wide (60-90 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun in loam to fine sandy loam, well-drained soils. It does not grow well in areas with poor drainage. Drought tolerant once established. Penstemons need very little water and barely any fertilizer.
  • Provides a bold impact in beds and borders, cottage gardens, rock gardens, or in prairie plantings. Great for naturalistic planting schemes.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for penstemon borers, Lygus bugs, and raceme-boring moths.
  • Propagate by seed or half-woody cuttings.
  • Native to the western United States from western Utah, southern Idaho, and most of Nevada and into east Cascade and Sierra portions of Washington, Oregon, and California.

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 3 - 7
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 7, 14, 15, 16
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Penstemon
Common names Penstemon, Beardtongue
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid)
Height 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 24" - 36"
(60cm - 90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Utah
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Bees, Birds, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage
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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

Artemisia tridentata (Big Sagebrush)
Yucca brevifolia (Joshua Tree)
Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa Pine)
Linum lewisii (Prairie Flax)
Ipomopsis aggregata (Skyrocket)
Lupinus albifrons (Silver 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 3 - 7
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 7, 14, 15, 16
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Penstemon
Common names Penstemon, Beardtongue
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid)
Height 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 24" - 36"
(60cm - 90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Utah
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Bees, Birds, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, 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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