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PlantFiles: Foxglove Beardtongue, Foxglove Penstemon, Talus Slope Penstemon, Smooth Penstemon
Penstemon digitalis

Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Penstemon (PEN-stem-on) (Info)
Species: digitalis (dig-ee-TAH-liss) (Info)

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

21 members have or want this plant for trade.

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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)
USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)
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

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

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

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8 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive vossner On Apr 30, 2014, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

In my area it is simply known as native white penstemon. Very lovely plant.

Positive coriaceous On Feb 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

One of the few Penstemons that's long-lived in eastern North America, where it's native. Self-sows here more than I'd like, but it's a decent garden plant that makes a decent evergreen groundcover. The flowers are nice but the season of bloom lasts only about two weeks here in Boston MA Z6a.

The seed strain with burgundy-tinted new foliage, 'Husker Red', is even more attractive. Both kinds have attractive evergreen basal foliage and good fall color.

Positive EConnolly On Jun 29, 2013, EConnolly from Elkton, MD wrote:

I would like to know if this can florish in a large pot...
I am building a garden using all sizes of flower pots...
so far the Foxglove is growing very well, just not flowering...
could it be I need to wait a year for it to start flowering?
Thank you for any help with this.

Positive plant_it On Jun 19, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Penstemon digitalis is a gentle flower occurring naturally in meadows, prairies, borders of woods, and rich alluvial woodlands from Maine and Quebec to South Dakota, south to Alabama, Louisiana and Texas.

The preference is full or partial sun, average levels of moisture, and loamy soil. This plant matures quickly during the spring, and the flowering stalks often ascend above neighboring plants. It adapts well to cultivation, is not bothered by disease, and is easy to grow. Under severe drought conditions, however, the leaves may turn yellow and the plant will wilt.

The wildlife value of Penstemon digitalis isn't that great. The seeds are not often eaten by birds, nor is the foliage an attractive source of food to mammalian herbivores, although they may browse on it when little else is available. It's popular with the bees, though. The tubular flowers of this plant attract long-tongued bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, Anthophorine bees, Miner bees, Mason bees, and large Leaf-Cutting bees. The caterpillars of the moth Elaphria chalcedonia (Chalcedony Midget) feed on the foliage of this and other beardtongues.

Positive JedS On Dec 27, 2007, JedS from Shawnee Mission, KS wrote:

I've had success growing this plant in eastern Kansas using rich, clay soil amended with some sand. It has grown and thrived in the hottest, driest of summers in full sun and in our cold winters. It blooms each year in mid-May with white flowers that have the lightest of a pinkish cast, and on occasion attracts a northbound migrating hummingbird at the same time. I've had to stake it lightly because the rich, clay soil causes it to flop somewhat.

Neutral erica42 On Jun 24, 2007, erica42 from Wellsboro, PA (Zone 4b) wrote:

These white penstemons grow wild here. I have never planted any, but have them appear in my flowerbeds. If they are not interferring with another plant, I usually allow them to flower.

Positive dceldridge On Jun 24, 2005, dceldridge from Shepherdstown, WV (Zone 6b) wrote:

I bought the plant as a "Perennial of the Year" in 1996, transplanted it, and it has done well. I rely on rainfall to water it and have mulched it. It grows to about 2 feet. No problem with insects.

Positive Toxicodendron On May 28, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is an attractive native wildflower here in the Ozarks. It prefers a moist habitat near the edges of woods, but not in deepest shade. Apparently it self-sows quite easily. Most of my plants are 2 to 3 feet tall, but they can reach as high as 4 feet according to my Missouri Wildflowers book.

Positive PaisleyPat On Oct 10, 2003, PaisleyPat from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

I have had this growing in two spots in my garden for 3 years now....If left to go to seed, it reseeds itself very well...I prune off the fading flowers, and it sends up new spikes of flowers for at least 6 weeks starting in early summer....The flowers are delightful little white bells, and in quantity are very decorative on the outer edge of my deep shade garden where they get about 4 hours of sun. The contrast between the green/burgundy foliage and the white bells is really striking. They are extremely hardy.

Neutral Baa On Aug 31, 2002, Baa wrote:

A semi-evergreen perennial from the USA.

Has slim, lance shaped, mid-deep green leaves which may be toothed or entire. Bears tubular, white flowers somtimes tinged with pink inside and out.

Flowers June to September

Loves a well drained, fertile soil in sun or light shade. Can get a bit weedy given time.


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

Logansport, Indiana
Valparaiso, Indiana
Pacific Junction, Iowa
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Pinconning, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Cole Camp, Missouri
Greenwood, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Clifton Park, New York
Oneonta, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Garner, North Carolina
Cleveland, Ohio
Jay, Oklahoma
Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Richmond, Texas
Santaquin, Utah
Leesburg, Virginia
Shepherdstown, West Virginia

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