Hairy Beardtongue, Penstemon hirsutus

Hairy Beardtongue

Penstemon hirsutus

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Dry, Medium, Moist
Color: Purple
Fragrance: No
Height: 18 inches
Spacing: 10-12 inches

Hairy Beardtongue, Penstemon hirsutus, also called Northeastern Beardtongue, has a bicolor violet-to-lavender and white flower. Occasionally all white flowered plants occur, and sometimes the violet drifts towards pink. The lower stem and petioles are very clearly quite bristly, and often have a red tinge. The flowers also have glandular hairs. The species gets 10-24 inches tall, with most of the foliage in a basal rosette. There is a pygmy form that is fairly common within the rock gardening community, where the entire plant flattens to 5 inches with the flowers and leaves the same size as the larger form.

This species is extremely easy to grow from seed. It is happy in regular garden soil, nasty dry clay, well drained sandy mixes, and thin soils over rocks. In nature it is found in thin alvar soils, in cracks in rock cliffs, and in drier areas where the conditions limit competition.

Hairy Beardtongue needs a fair amount of sun, but it can tolerate a bit of shade. In rich soils it can be susceptible to fungus diseases in humid summers. This species will send out sporadic blooms throughout the summer.

Plants have opposite, stemless lance-shaped leaves with toothed margins. The blossom shades range from pale hues of purples and blues to white. The long, thin blooms have five petals with a protruding, hairy lower lip that evokes the species’ common name.

 Further Information

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