Species Name:  Penstemon calycosus

Common Name: Calico Beardtongue, Long-sepal Beardtongue

Zone: 5 to 8

Light: Full Sun to Light Shade to Medium Shade

Soil Moisture: Medium to Moist

Soil Types: Loam, Sand, Clay

Fertility: Medium to Rich

pH: adaptable to high pH

Bloom Time: late spring to early summer, May-June

Habit: A hardy herbaceous perennial that develops upright flower stalks emerging from a basal rosette of leaves. Similar in habit to Smooth Penstemon Penstemon digitalis but with tubular rose pink to lavender flowers.  Flowering last for three weeks in late spring.  Calico penstemon is more adapted to shade than other penstemons but is less drought tolerant. It prefers moist rich loamy soils in light to moderate shade but is tolerant of varied soil, moisture and light conditions. Under full sun conditions it requires moister soils but can still tolerate periods of drought.

This is a desirable early season perennial for shady conditions. Plants are easy to grow from seed and it readily naturalizes and spreads by seed. Plants are pest resistant and unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.

Long tongued bees, butterflies, sphinx moths and hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers and caterpillars of several moth species feed on the foliage.

Calico Beardtongue can be found in open rocky woodlands, wet mesic woods, oak savannas, moist meadows, woodland edges and clearings, stream banks, limestone outcrops, pastures and roadsides.

Penstemon calycosus occurs in the eastern United States from Maine to Georgia and west to Minnesota and Missouri in a variety of habitats.

Rose pink to lavender tubular flowers attract numerous pollinators.

Calico penstemon in bloom.