Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Beardtongue, Beard Tongue
Penstemon barbatus 'Iron Maiden'

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

12 members have or want this plant for trade.


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:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

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to view:

By LilyLover_UT
Thumbnail #1 of Penstemon barbatus by LilyLover_UT

By Ally_UT
Thumbnail #2 of Penstemon barbatus by Ally_UT

By plutodrive
Thumbnail #3 of Penstemon barbatus by plutodrive

By Clary
Thumbnail #4 of Penstemon barbatus by Clary


1 positive
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive colchie 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!

Neutral Clary 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.


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

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