Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Beardtongue, Beard Tongue
Penstemon barbatus 'Coccineus'

Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Penstemon (PEN-stem-on) (Info)
Species: barbatus (bar-BAY-tus) (Info)
Cultivar: Coccineus
Additional cultivar information: (aka Jingle Bells)

Synonym:Penstemon barbatus var. coccineus
Synonym:Penstemon coccineus

One vendor has this plant for sale.

13 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
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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There are a total of 11 photos.
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2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive hummer_girl On Dec 23, 2008, hummer_girl from Saint Louis, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

I purchased this plant from the local nursery in the spring of 2007 and planted it in a large plastic pot (which is thickly insulated), and kept it on my west/southwest facing patio. No blooms in 2007, but nice foliage less than a foot tall. But in the spring of 2008...the plant took off! Loaded with blooms and about 3' tall. Stems very sturdy until mid-summer, then I had to add support to keep the plant upright for the hummers doing acrobatics in their attempts to get to all the red trumpet flowers loaded with nectar. As the blooms faded I collected seeds, then separated the plants and planted them in a raised bed. The only reason I moved them from the pot was because I feared they would become root bound. About a month after they had settled in the flower bed, a few flower stalks shot up! In January 2009 I'm going to scatter some of the seeds in the raised bed (so they can stratify naturally), and see what the spring brings! Post Script: The tag from my nursery reads: Penstemon Barbatus 'Coccineus' (Jingle Bells) Breadtongue, grows to 36", zones 4/5. When I did a search on this website, this is the page I was directed to, and my plants look exactly like the picture Gabrielle posted. If I can find my own pics, I'll post a few.

Neutral Gabrielle On Jan 16, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

'Jingle Bells' has pretty flowers, but is terrible about flopping. I like having it for variety's sake, but it is not my favorite. It does help to fill in an area and make it look lush even in hot, dry weather.

My information says it is hardy in zones 2-11. It should not be planted in soil that is too rich.

Neutral crystalspin On Mar 26, 2004, crystalspin from Santa Ana, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Bought a couple of these (in gallon pots) ab.four years ago... they flowered the first year, but not since. The plants have spread or multiplied until they fill a 3'x4' slightly raised bed where they look lovely: GREEN ALL YEAR, about 4" tall and so thick no weeds grow, and no sign of a flower. I see the seeds need cold to germinate but I also think the plants need cold to BLOOM. This is Sunset 23, USDA 10a (?); we get maybe 2-6 light morning frosts per winter. FWIW, they're keepers for the job they do as living mulch for the dwarf apricot tree they're under. -- E.

Positive poppysue On Mar 14, 2003, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

A lovely penstemon with tubular, scarlet flowers born on 3-foot stems. A favorite for the hummingbirds. It prefers full sun and a well drained soil. Seed must be given several weeks of cold temperatures for germination.


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

Birmingham, Alabama
Mesa, Arizona
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Palm Springs, California
San Jacinto, California
Santa Ana, California
Santa Monica, California
Mechanicsville, Maryland
Florence, Mississippi
Saint Louis, Missouri
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Skaneateles, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Portland, Oregon
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Parkesburg, Pennsylvania
Kalama, Washington

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