Foxglove, Fairy Thimbles, Dewflower, Wild Belladonna, Beardtongue, Showy Beardtongue

Penstemon cobaea

Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Penstemon (PEN-stem-on) (Info)
Species: cobaea (ko-BEE-uh) (Info)



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Fuchsia (Red-Purple)

White/Near White

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 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


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

Richmond, California

Saint Marys, Kansas

Elsberry, Missouri

Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon

Arlington, Texas

Crawford, Texas

Helotes, Texas

Houston, Texas

Lipan, Texas

Rio Vista, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On May 30, 2016, LarryScot from Needham, MA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Bought one at lows, very pretty flowers. Highly reccomend it


On Apr 17, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Foxglove (Penstemon cobaea) is also known as fairy thimbles, dewflower, wild belladonna, beardtongue, showy beardtongue and balmony. It is found on dry open prairies and eroded pastures and hillsides, slopes, bluffs and edges of creeks on chalk loam, limestone loam, gypsum loam or sandy loam soils. It is an upright, hairy perennial that has a thick, tuberous root. This root assists with its surviving scorching dry summers. In the summer, it whithers down and appears to be dead. In late winter, a thick, compact clump of leaves and a tall stem laden with buds emerges. It produces very large, 2" long, tubular white to violet to deep purple flowers (largest blooms of any native penstemon).and is pollinated by large bees which need to crawl inside the corolla tube. That is why the filaments of... read more


On Aug 26, 2006, dmj1218 from west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is the largest-flowering native Texas penstemon (also found in Arkansas and Nebraska) ranging from the rolling plains and blackland prairies to the Gulf of Mexico. Much of its life is spent in a rosette form but for about 2 weeks in April or May it sends up 1-1.5' bloom stalks of white to pale pink, lavender, or rosy purple and the open flowers might cover two-thirds of the stalk. It works well in the middle of garden beds where the shrunken rosettes can be shaded by other taller, more vigorous plants in the summer. They are short lived perennials (3 to 4 years) so many people simply spread the seeds in the summer when they cut the flowered stalks off. It grows very easy from seed (blooms second year for me). Tolerates sand, loam, clay, and limestone soils as long as they are well dra... read more


On Aug 12, 2006, LindaTX8 from NE Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a great perennial native wildflower that can move right into the garden also! It can tolerate drought and poor soils. Large pale lavender blooms appear every spring and attract hummingbirds.