Penstemon digitalis, Foxglove Beardtongue

Foxglove Beartongue in bloom at Shelterwood. Notice the pink and yellow unopened flowers.

If you've ever planted a prairie seed mix, it is almost certain Foxglove Beardtongue is growing among your prairie plants. Whether this penstemon is native to our eastern Minnesota counties or not is still in question, but given its ubiquitous application in restorations, it is likely to be associated with our prairies nonetheless. I have it in my prairie plantings where seed was broadcast and it is perfectly at home. 

This species has been bred for cultivation in the conventional plant trade, so beware at home centers and the like for that big name pot. Early in the season, Foxglove Beardtongue can show considerable maroon-bronze foliage. This tends to change to green as the season warms. There are cultivars in the conventional trade with longer-lasting bronze foliage -we have some in the garden, and customers always ask "Do you have that one?"

Bloom: white, May through June

Height: 2 to 4 feet

Conditions: sun to pt shade, medium to medium dry soils

Foxglove Penstemon in a prairie planting, mid June