White wand penstemon

Biological Name:

Penstemon albidus (White-wand-penstemon)

Natural Habitat:

White-wand-penstemon is also likely a flowering plant, and it may have a similar natural habitat to white-wand-beardtongue. It is possible that it grows in a variety of natural environments, including fields, meadows, and forests. The geographic region in which it grows is difficult to determine without more information.


White-wand-penstemon is a perennial herb that is native to North America. It has small white flowers and opposite lance-shaped leaves. It is often found in dry open areas and is used in traditional medicine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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: Leave penstemon leaves intact until April, only cutting back the leaves to the lowest shoots when spring is well and truly here. Don’t cut your penstemons down in autumn because they are slightly tender.

Q: Do penstemons bloom the first year?
A: One of the biggest improvements for penstemon is the capability to flower the first year. This means that many of the new penstemon not only look like annuals but behave like them as well.

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: Should penstemon be deadheaded?
A: Deadheading can be one of the best ways to encourage new growth on plants that are starting to look lacklustre and this applies to penstemon too.

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: 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: 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: Can penstemon survive frost?
A: Most penstemons can cope with light frosts, although the foliage will be cut back. If the soil is not too cold or wet during the winter, leave them in the ground where they have been growing. Cut back the top growth to 15cm and protect the roots and basal buds with a thick layer of manure or bark chippings.

Q: Is penstemon hard to grow?
A: Penstemons are easy to start from seed. Seeds may germinate better after a period of aging, mimicking their conditions in the wild, so you can store seed for several years before planting. If you sow the seeds in the garden, do so in autumn, to allow a natural stratification period.

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: What do you do with penstemon in the winter?
A: Given good drainage all penstemons should survive most winters, but they must keep most of their foliage over winter. Take cuttings in summer as an insurance policy.

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: Should I deadhead my penstemon?
A: What is this? During the growing season, it’s always recommended that you remove any old flowers as well as deadheading any wilting blooms. Doing this will allow it to grow better and flower at its best. Penstemons can generally cope with the cold and frost over the winter, but this isn’t the case 100% of the time.

Q: Does penstemon need deadheading?
A: Deadheading. Remove spent flower spikes as blooms fade to help encourage a long season.

Q: Are penstemons short lived?
A: Some perennial plants are classified as short-lived, and penstemons are notorious for this trait. A species penstemon in optimal conditions may prevail for a few years, but to remain longer it must produce and shed viable seed.

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.