Smooth Penstemon is a late spring-early summer bloomer with beautiful tubular flowers. These flowers are true white sometimes tinged with pink and adds brightness to the garden. This plant is commonly called beard tongue because the sterile stamen has a tuft of small hairs. The flowers are bore in terminal clusters or panicles at the ends of the stem and add a beauty all their own to the garden.
In the spring the plants starts out as a rosette of basal leaves. These leaves are medium green and about 6 to 7 inches long and about an inch wide. As the plants grows the flower stalks rise above the basal leaves. This stalk has leaves that are opposite each other on the stem. The flowers are at the end of this stalk.
Beards Tongue grows 24 to 48 inches tall. It likes moist soil and will take sun or partial shade. The tubular flowers attract humming birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators. The Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly reportedly uses this as a host plant. Very nice plant to add height and later spring color to your garden.
Great companions are swamp milkweed, wild bergamot, green coneflower, red lobelia and showy or stiff goldenrods. You can use Royal or Interrupted fern if the soil is fairly moist.
Penstemon digitalis - Smooth Penstemon
- Bright white panicles of tubular flowers
- Flowers late spring-early summer
- Provides food for pollinators
- Host plant for Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly
- Height: 2 to 4 feet tall
- Zone: 3 to 9