Penstemon Species, Beard Tongue, Eaton's Penstemon, Firecracker Penstemon, Pride of the Mountain

Penstemon eatonii

Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Penstemon (PEN-stem-on) (Info)
Species: eatonii (ee-TON-ee-eye) (Info)
Synonym:Penstemon eatonii var. undosus



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:

Dark Green


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone



Bloom Color:

Scarlet (dark red)

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

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 is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Chandler, Arizona

Cottonwood, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Saint David, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona(2 reports)

Alamo, California

Burlingame, California

Richmond, California

Durango, Colorado

Hotchkiss, Colorado

Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Defuniak Springs, Florida

Priest River, Idaho

Hebron, Kentucky

Las Vegas, Nevada

Hudson, New Hampshire

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Sayre, Pennsylvania

Austin, Texas

Belton, Texas

Bertram, Texas

Edinburg, Texas

El Paso, Texas

Ogden, Utah

Riverton, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Santaquin, Utah

Spokane, Washington

Hudson, Wisconsin

Laramie, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 9, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Like most penstemons native to western North America, this species does not do well in humid climates where the annual precipitation is over 30".

Plant the crown high, preferably in soil that is lean and sharply drained. Tends to be short-lived, and persists through self-sowing. Overly rich soils and too much compost or fertilizer will shorten its brief lifespan. High-nitrogen water soluble fertilizers like the blue one are especially harmful. In arid climates, mulch with gravel or pine needles, but not bark, compost or grass clippings.


On Oct 9, 2016, Max64 from Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a) wrote:

Grows well in the Las Vegas heat however it does prefer morning sun and afternoon shade or filtered light. Mine is planted in partly shade/filtered light (South West wall) and it thrives. There's a drip emitter about 2 feet away that's for one of my bottle brush trees and the only time I give it extra water is during the extreme hot summer but I'm sure it would survive without. I have hummingbirds galore that feed on my Penstemon, Fairy Duster, Coral Plant, Brakelights red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora), Bottle brush and tree. Many times when I'm in the yard they'll just come straight to me and stare me right in eyes from a foot away for what sometimes seem forever. They are the cutest.


On Nov 15, 2010, blackcanyon from Hotchkiss, CO wrote:

I've got penstemon eatonii in the garden. It's a wonderful plant that doesn't mind a bit (I wouldn't say "thrives") neglect. I've had it rebloom consistently if you cut off the spent stalk. Leave some stalk and it will spread from seed. It is NOT evergreen here in zone 5'ish of western CO. Always dies back to ground (just like penstemon pinifolius). The hummingbirds adore this. I've got many other penstemon cultivars, but this one is THE favorite. Do not overwater or you will have root rot and possibly winter kill. It likes it high and dry.


On Jun 15, 2009, Meredith79 from Southeastern, NH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Grew this from seed in 2007, it is in bloom now for the first time. A hummingbird has been at them daily. I would like to get a lot of plants going because they are rather dainty and I think you need a lot for them to stand out in the garden.


On Jun 24, 2007, dicentra63 from West Valley City, UT (Zone 6b) wrote:

A non-hybridized wildflower, you can find this penstemon growing wild in the mountains in the Rocky Mountain west.

It's happy in bad soil, hot sun, and little water. Blooms mid-spring.