Penstemon Species, Brazos, Gulf Coast Penstemon, Pride of the Mountain, Sharpsepal Beardtongue

Penstemon tenuis

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



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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

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

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

, Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah

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

Slaughter, 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

Princeton, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Rockwall, Texas

Rowlett, Texas

Seadrift, Texas

Spring, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

Van Alstyne, Texas

Kalama, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 18, 2015, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

A nice native perennial wildflower that proudly holds its blooms up high. It's a shame the foliage looks so weedy (light greenish and crinkled). I'd prefer to buy a variety / cultivar with darker foliage and more vividly-colored flowers.


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!.


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.


On Oct 20, 2013, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) 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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.