Beardtongue, Beard Tongue 'Iron Maiden'

Penstemon barbatus

Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Penstemon (PEN-stem-on) (Info)
Species: barbatus (bar-BAY-tus) (Info)
Cultivar: Iron Maiden



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Scarlet (Dark Red)


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Denver, Colorado

Parker, Colorado

Cordele, Georgia

Woodstock, Georgia

Nampa, Idaho

Twin Falls, Idaho

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Hermosa, South Dakota

Ogden, Utah

Santaquin, Utah

Vashon, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 31, 2010, colchie from Vashon, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Started this last year from seed, it wintered over fine, and huge, impressive spikes of red flowers early summer. A keeper!


On Oct 14, 2009, Clary from Lewisburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I hoped to grow this in my mid-Atlantic garden - inspired no doubt by several consecutive years of very hot dry summers. I planted some seeds and the first year had a patch of lush leaves. The following year was cool and rainy for months and the penstemon died. The roots became mushy and hollow. I only had a few small stalks of flowers from it.

This is a flower that is most successful in mass plantings. I planned to add it to a patch of agastache for color and height.