Plant types and subtypes: Perennials
Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade
Water Use: low, medium
Soil Moisture: dry, moist
Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, loam, sand, gravel/rock
Bloom Time: April, May, June
Bloom Color: purple, pink, lavender
Leaf Color: green
Hardiness Zone: 6
Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts butterflies, attracts hummingbirds, cut flowers, deer resistant, fall interest, rare, rock garden plant
Pricing & Availability
Penstemon smalliiAlso known as:
This short-lived perennial has a somewhat bushy appearance, growing up to 24 inches in bloom. The throats of the pinkish-purple tubular flowers are marked with white stripes. Small's beardtongue has green, purple-veined, shiny opposite leaves set on dark purple stems. The basal rosette turns an attractive red to bronze in fall.
Penstemon smallii is a rare species, found in isolated pockets in the mountainous areas of the Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. Small's beardtongue grows along wood margins and on cliff banks. It prefers acidic, dry to moist soil, and can be grown in either loam, sand or rocky soil. This species is very tolerant of heat and humidity, but will not do well in wet conditions. All said, this is a very easy plant to grow that can be used in just about any garden environment, except for full shade. Blooms are long lasting adding a splash of color for up to a month, from April to June. Zone 6
Easily propagated from seed, by root division in spring or fall, and from cuttings.
Penstemon smallii is an underutilized garden gem. Due to its short-lived nature, it is best to let it self seed to ensure a long lasting presence in the garden. The genus derives its name from the Greek word penstemon which means five stamens. One of these is sterile and hairy whereby the common name beardtongue.
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
AL, GA, NC, SC, TN
|Species||Penstemon smallii||Small's beardtongue|