Trumpet Penstemon

Biological Name:

Penstemon spp. (Trumpet-Penstemon)

Natural Habitat:

Trumpet-Penstemon: This plant is native to North America, and it can grow in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, and disturbed areas.


Trumpet-Penstemon also known as Penstemon is a plant that is native to grassland and prairie regions of North America. It is an annual herb that can grow up to two feet tall and it has small oval-shaped leaves and small trumpet-shaped flowers that are typically blue purple or pink in color. The plant is known for its showy flowers and hummingbird-attracting abilities

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Does penstemon like sun or shade?
A: Light preference: Full sun to part shade. Varieties with purple or reddish leaves will exhibit the best foliage color when grown in direct sunlight.

Q: How long do penstemon plants last?
A: After about five years, penstemons often need replacing as they become woody and flower less well.

Q: What is the hardiest penstemon?
A: Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ is one of the hardier varieties of penstemon, with deep purple-green foliage that contrasts dramatically with the pale white-pink flowers.

Q: Should penstemon be cut back?
A: Penstemon doesn’t require too much pruning when compared to some other plants, but it’s still a good idea to cut them back when you notice they’re becoming overgrown, or you want to remove wilting foliage/flowers to encourage new growth.

Q: Does penstemon multiply?
A: The growth habits of penstemons include low-growing ground covers with short flower spikes or small basal rosettes that produce tall, multiplying, floral spikes.

Q: Can a penstemon flower twice?
A: Penstemons bloom from early summer and with deadheading can continue flowering well into autumn.

Q: What can I plant next to penstemon?
A: To extend color and textural interest in your garden, select companion plants with similar water needs. My favorites include Artemisia, Agave, Hesperaloe, yarrow, blue flax, orange milkweed, chocolate flower, Colorado four o’clock and dwarf baby blue rabbitbrush.

Q: Where do penstemons grow best?
A: Grow penstemons in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Mulch annually with well-rotted manure or leaf mould, and feed weekly in summer. Penstemons are short-lived perennials that can suffer in winter. To avoid losses, pruning penstemon is best done in spring.

Q: Do hummingbirds like penstemon?
A: Penstemon, also known as beardtongue, has everything that makes an ideal hummingbird flower: long, tubular blooms (the shape is hard for insects to sip nectar from but easy for hummingbirds), sweet nectar and a flower spike filled with lots of little blossoms.

Q: Do you cut back penstemons in winter?
A: Start trimming your penstemon after the last frost in spring. Leave the remaining growth on your penstemons over winter to protect them from any harsh weather and help them survive.

Q: Do penstemons spread?
A: Hairy Beardtongue is one of the most landscape friendly native plants. It has a compact size, doesn’t spread aggressively with the exception of some self-seeding. It blooms beautiful lavender-white flowers in Spring, really providing some stunning color.

Q: Do penstemons need cutting back?
A: Penstemons can become woody and leggy if they are not pruned hard, annually. It’s quite straightforward to do.

Q: Do penstemons bloom twice?
A: If you are hoping to have your penstemon plants freely seed around your garden, make sure to leave a few stalks on the plants so they can fully ripen and disperse. Otherwise, you can remove spent blooms to encourage a second wave of flowers.

Q: Are penstemons frost hardy?
A: Season The main flowering period is early summer to mid-autumn. Size From 15cm to 1m tall. Conditions An undemanding and adaptable plant that grows best in well-drained soil in a sunny situation. Hardiness Very hardy to frost hardy.

Q: Are penstemons hard to grow?
A: Pineleaf Penstemon features handsome evergreen foliage that grows in a tidy mound. Hummingbirds love to pollinate the nectar-rich flowers. It’s easy-to-grow, requiring only plentiful sun, a lean well drained soil. This resilient, drought-tolerant perennial needs only occasional deep soakings in dry weather.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.