UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County

Drought Tolerant

Perennial- Penstemon, Showy

Penstemon spectabilis garden
Common Name: Showy Penstemon, Royal Beardtongue

Botanical Name: Penstemon spectabilis

Family: Plantaginaceae

Description: Evergreen perennial, native to California southern coastal hills and dry creek beds

Sun: Full or part

Water: Very drought tolerant

Soil: Well-drained

Habit and form:  Upright growth 2-3 feet tall. Coarse textured leaves are large, bright green, oval, and toothed. Showy flowers on spikes

Penstemon spectabilis flowers
Flower type: Long, tubular flowers; each flower stalk can have up to 100 1-inch blossoms

Flower color & bloom season: Flower petals are blue, tubular part is light purple. Very showy. Blooms April through June

Penstemon spectabilis delicate flower spike
















Uses, if any, for plant and/or flowers: Attractive to hummingbirds and pollinators, including native bees

Pruning time & method: Trim back old growth in early spring when new growth appears

Maintenance tips: Divide in spring; can grow from seed


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