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PlantFiles: Brazos Penstemon, Gulf Coast Penstemon
Penstemon tenuis

Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Penstemon (PEN-stem-on) (Info)
Species: tenuis (TEN-yoo-iss) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

20 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

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:
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


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
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 22 photos.
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10 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive rosemarysims On Feb 21, 2014, rosemarysims from Mermentau, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love this penstemon! I've grown it in just about every garden I've ever made and it has never failed to thrill, especially when grown near black foliage. Nothing seems to bother it: no rain or plenty rain; unrelenting heat or freezing; humid or dry; good soil or almost non soil. Dead heading provides for flowers from early spring to fall. I will shortly grow it with the black leaf cotton as its backdrop, and in the past I've used Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' underneath. Man, did the blue of the Penstemon pop out when the Ajuga bloomed!.

Positive marasri On Oct 27, 2013, marasri from Dripping Springs, TX wrote:

It was beautiful in part shade under a Live Oak tree In Central Texas. It has very alkaline limestone soils with oak leaf much build up. It did fine unwatered till the Big Drought. 5 1/2" was a little too dry for it (and everything else). I did not water because we ran out of water. My large ex-bank is coming back from all those seeds it had cast off during the flush years. I rake off the leaf cover in the spring to aid germination, and it has been blooming this last year. I think I have enough to spread it around this fall to other oak trees.

Positive vossner On Oct 20, 2013, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I planted GC penstemon in a blue garden and the flowers seemed a little too pink to belong there. Wondering if soil chemistry does affect coloring. I would describe it as a pinkish lavender.

This is the first year I've noticed seeds. I opened some pods and tried to remove seeds. It was maddening b/c they are so tiny. I think people just shake the partially opened pods to let the seeds fall.

Positive penpen On Apr 21, 2011, penpen from North Tonawanda, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This Penstemon is growing on the west side of the house in my western NY garden so it isn't in full sun like my other penstemons and is in soil that has quite a bit of clay. Last year it bloomed off and on all season nearly as long as I kept the spent blooms removed. A very pretty penstemon that doens't get out of hand and is shorter than my others so makes a nice border plant.

Positive mcrousse On Nov 30, 2010, mcrousse from Holly Springs, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have grown this plant in full sun here in zone 7b in moist soil and in fairly dry soil. It has done well in both locations. It survived our extremely hot and humid, dry summer with no problems. It wintersows quite well. It puts on a beautiful display!

Positive CarloInTX On Apr 10, 2009, CarloInTX from Denton, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Planted several of these last Summer (2008) as given from a neighbor. Two of them came back this Spring, one of which is doing extremely well in the moist soil under the eaves on the northeast side of the house. My blooms aren't nearly as big as those in the pictures, here, though.

Positive dmj1218 On May 2, 2006, dmj1218 from west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Pefect little spring plant--early and cheerful; but tough enough to hold up to brutally hot and humid houston summers. Prefers poorly drained areas in my garden.

Positive mamajack On Feb 7, 2006, mamajack from Fate, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

i wouldn't be without this plant but i sowed seeds all over my yard 2 yrs. ago and last spring i pulled up hundreds of plants. so it can be invasive, at least in the blacklands.

Positive chiltepin1 On Jun 6, 2004, chiltepin1 from Hempstead, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Reportedly grows well in most areas of Texas though is particularly at home in the S.E. corner of state where it grows naturally. Also known to do well in Louisiana and Arkansas. Makes a fine airy early-midspring display of lavender-purple-wine (color pH sensitive?) planted in 1' spacing (1st year of bloom). Divide every 2 years. Elegant yet tough and trouble-free. Reseeds readily though easy to control. Perfect plant for that moist-soggy spot and as a naturalizer. Blooms at same time in my garden as breadseed poppy, daylily (early types), Salvia E. Friesland, j. jump-ups, coreopsis and various roses. Underused.

Positive frostweed On Apr 29, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

The Brazos Penstemon is a lovely perennial with pretty lavender flowers that bloom in the Spring together with primroses,oxeye daisy, and blue bonnet. The stems are tall so they can be seen above the others and they make a beautiful picture in the wild flower garden. I highly recommend them, I have had them for 3 years now and they are more beautiful every year.


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

, Alabama
Midland City, Alabama
Ashdown, Arkansas
Wilmington, Delaware
Augusta, Georgia
Cordele, Georgia
Richmond Hill, Georgia
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Ferriday, Louisiana
Gonzales, Louisiana
Jennings, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Pontotoc, Mississippi
New York City, New York
North Tonawanda, New York
Tonawanda, New York
Holly Springs, North Carolina
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas (3 reports)
Belton, Texas
Brazoria, Texas
College Station, Texas
Crawford, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Denton, Texas
Dripping Springs, Texas
Fate, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Hempstead, Texas
Houston, Texas
Ingleside, Texas
Katy, Texas
Lockhart, Texas
Los Ebanos, Texas
Lufkin, Texas
North Richland Hills, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Rockwall, Texas
Rowlett, Texas
Seadrift, Texas
Spring, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
Van Alstyne, Texas
Kalama, Washington

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