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Royal Penstemon
Penstemon speciosus
About Royal Penstemon (Penstemon speciosus) Nurseries Show All Photos Royal Penstemon is native to the western United States where it can be found in many types of habitat, including plateau and foothill scrub and sub-alpine mountain forests. It is a perennial herb growing erect to a maximum height near 60 centimeters. The leaves are usually lance-shaped and sometimes folded lengthwise, measuring up to 9 centimeters long. They are arranged oppositely and often clasp the stem at the bases. The showy flower cluster bears tubular flowers with expanded mouths, the largest reaching nearly 4 centimeters in length. The flowers come in many shades of light to deep blue, lavender, and purple, and usually have white throats.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
2 - 2.5 ft (0.6 - 0.8 m)

Max. Width
2 ft (0.6 m)


Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate

Flower Color
Blue, Lavender, Purple

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Sagebrush scrub, sub-alpine mountain forests (fir or pine), primarily inland mountain or foothill areas that experience hot summers and cold winters, such as the Owen's Valley and Modoc Plateau

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
1218' - 14090'

Annual Precip. ?
4.6" - 91.1"

Summer Precip. ?
0.40" - 3.86"

Coldest Month ?
10.6° F - 52.4° F

Hottest Month ?
34.0° F - 79.2° F

Humidity ?
0.52 vpd - 32.87 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerant of a variety of soils as long as adequate drainage is provided

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 7, 14, 15, 16

Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds and various insects

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Inorganic, Organic with Rocks

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: 1-2 mos. stratification.

Common uses
Bird Gardens, Hummingbird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Royal Beardtongue, Showy Penstemon

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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