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Penstemon canescens

eastern gray beardtongue add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Perennials

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun

Water Use: low

Soil Moisture: dry

Soil Description: average, poor, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 1'-2'

Bloom Time: May, June, July

Bloom Color: white, violet, purple, pink, lavender

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7

Additional Tags: clumping, rock garden plant

Flowers of Penstemon canescens (gray beardtongue)
  • Flowers of Penstemon canescens (gray beardtongue)
  • Penstemon canescens (eastern gray beardtongue)
  • Penstemon canescens (eastern gray beardtongue)
  • Penstemon canescens (eastern gray beardtongue)

Pricing & Availability


Penstemon canescens

Also known as:

eastern gray beardtongue


gray beardtongue

Scientific Synonyms:

Penstemon brittoniorum


Penstemon canescens flowers are 1" long, trumpet-shaped,and reminiscent of those of the snapdragon. They are usually pale shades of pink to lavender, but occasionally deep shades of purple and violet. They bloom atop rigid hairy stems, 2' tall or more. Opposing pairs of lance-shaped leaves may grow up to 2" long.


Easily grown in average or even poor soil, in full sun, this clump forming species is an excellent choice for a medium height plant to add a focal point in a rock garden or a dry border. Spent flowers may be cut to prolong bloom time. Plants may be cut back hard after blooming to improve their appearance. Susceptible to root-rot if kept wet. May bloom from May through July. Zones 5-7


Best propagated by division before or after bloom time. May also be propagated from seed.

Additional Notes

From the Greek word penta, meaning five, penstemon refers to the five stamens typical to this large genus. The common name beardtongue is a reference to its one, furry, sterile stamen (the other four are fertile).

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Threatened: IN, OH


Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Scrophulariales
Family Scrophulariaceae Figwort family
Genus Penstemon beardtongue
Species Penstemon canescens eastern gray beardtongue