Beardtongue, Beard Tongue 'Coccineus'

Penstemon barbatus

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


Alpines and Rock Gardens


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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 ... read more


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.


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.


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.