Cardinal Penstemon

Cardinal Penstemon (Penstemon cardinalis) is a rare, cold hardy wildflower from the southern mountains of New Mexico. Tall, impressive spikes of dark red flowers bloom in mid-summer, making this favorite source of natural nectar for hummingbirds. A must-have for your pollinator garden. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).
Zones5 - 8
Advantages
Attract Butterflies
Attract Hummingbirds
Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Native
Low Maintenance
Good For Cut Flowers
Good Rockgarden Or Alpine Plant
Light Requirements
Full Sun
Annual Rainfall
Less than 10" (with irrigation)
10 to 20"
20 to 30"
Mature Height24-36" tall
Mature Spread36" wide
Bloom TimeMid to late summer
ShippingShipping begins the week of August 31st, 2020 Learn More…
SizePlant - 5" Deep Pot
SKUHC017525

USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

  • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
  • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

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SKU
HC017525

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Details

(24-36” tall x 15-18” wide) Cardinal Penstemon is a must for the pollinator garden, attracting hummingbirds with its mid-summer display of dark red tubular flowers. A husky plant with big dark green leaves and tall flower spikes, this perennial fits nicely in the back of the border. One of the latest blooming Beardtongues, it’s a nice companion to plant with earlier blooming varieties, such as Penstemon strictus and Penstemon eatonii, to keep the hummingbirds and bumblebees well-fed with nectar. Plant it in a sunny spot with infertile sandy or loam soil. Deer, rabbit, and gopher resistant. Other recommended companion plants include Silver Spike Grass (Achnatherum), Little Bluestem Grass (Schizachyrium), Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida), and Black Eyed Susan (Rudbekcia).

More Information
SKUHC017525
Item Package Size
Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Common Name
Cardinal Beardtongue
Botanical Name
Penstemon cardinalis
Zones
5, 6, 7, 8
Light Requirements
Full Sun
Flower Color
Red
Mature Height
24-36" tall
Mature Spread
36" wide
Bloom Time
Mid to late summer
Ships As
Potted Plant
Soil Type
Sandy Soil, Average Soil, Low Fertility Soil, Well-Drained Soil
Soil Moisture
Drought Resistant / Waterwise, Well Draining
Amount Of Rain
Less than 10" (with irrigation), 10 to 20", 20 to 30"
Advantages
Attract Butterflies, Attract Hummingbirds, Deer Resistant, Rabbit Resistant, Native, Low Maintenance, Good For Cut Flowers, Good Rockgarden Or Alpine Plant
Ideal Region
West, Western Only, Pacific Northwest, Coastal California
Planting Time
Spring / Summer, Fall
Neonicotinoid Free
Ships To Canada
No
Planting Guides

Tips for growing Penstemon (Beardtongue)

Penstemon are generally evergreen and have beautiful flowers that are very attractive to hummingbirds. Most varieties are rabbit resistant.

  1. They need “elbow room,” maximum sun, heat and don’t like to be crowded by other plants.
  2. Plant only in well-drained soils; clay soils and Penstemon are incompatible.
  3. Avoid overly enriched soils; too much compost and fertilizer will shorten their lifespan.
  4. They establish quickly and the amount and frequency of watering needs to be reduced after about 8 to 10 weeks to create dry conditions.
  5. When using drip irrigation, be sure to put the emitter off to the side of the plant, not right on top of the root ball to avoid overwatering the plant.
  6. Plant high, leaving the top of the rootball just above the surrounding soil to avoid burying the crown of the plant.
  7. Mulch with gravel or pine needles in arid climates. No mulch is needed where conditions are moister. Always avoid bark, grass clippings, or compost as mulch materials.
  8. Allow some of the plants to set seed (don't deadhead all of the flower spikes)*.
  9. Fertilize sparingly. One time each year in the fall is enough. Apply a light application of an organic or natural fertilizer such as Yum Yum Mix as a top dressing around the plants. Don't use high nitrogen water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Gro

*To keep penstemon that have finely textured or matted evergreen foliage looking their best, you'll want to 'deadhead" them. Shear off the fading flowering spikes just as the plant is going out of flower. Gently bunch the flower spikes together with one hand and cut them off at the point where they go down into the mat of foliage with your clipper in your other hand. Recommended for the following varieties: P. pinifolius types (‘Compactum', ‘Mersea Yellow', ‘Nearly Red', ‘Magdalena Sunshine' and ‘Tall Orange Mix'), as well as Penstemon linarioides v. coloradensis and Penstemon virens ('Blue Lips').

More in-depth guidance for growing Penstemon: Watch our video: How To Plant Penstemon or read articles: Growing Penstemon, Penstemon for the Waterwise Garden, David’s Favorite Plants: Pineleaf Beardtongue, The Beardtongue Family: Penstemania for Penstemon and The Genus Penstemon: The Royalty of American Wildflowers The Genus Penstemon: The Royalty of American Wildflowers (Part 2).


View more Planting Guides, or download our complete Planting Guide for tips on caring for your plants when you receive your order, as well as planting instructions for Perennials, Spring-Planted Bulbs, Fall-Planted Bulbs, Cacti & Succulents, Xeric Plants and more.
Shipping
ZoneShipping Status
Zone 2Shipping begins the week of August 31st, 2020
Zone 3Shipping begins the week of August 31st, 2020
Zone 4Shipping begins the week of August 31st, 2020
Zone 5Shipping begins the week of September 7th, 2020
Zone 6Shipping begins the week of September 14th, 2020
Zone 7Shipping begins the week of September 28th, 2020
Zone 8Shipping begins the week of October 5th, 2020
Zone 9Shipping begins the week of October 5th, 2020
Zone 10Shipping begins the week of October 12th, 2020

As soon as your order is placed you will receive a confirmation email. You will receive a second email the day your order ships telling you how it has been sent. Some perennials are shipped as potted plants, some as perennial roots packed in peat.  The ‘Plant Information’ section describes how that item will ship. All perennials and spring-planted bulbs are packaged to withstand shipping and are fully-guaranteed. Please open upon receipt and follow the instructions included.

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