Penstemon smallii is a rare species that is native to select areas in the mountainous areas of the Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. Small's Beardtongue typically grows wild along woodsides, on cliff banks and among rocky places. This species of Penstemon is very tolerant of heat and humidity and is a very easy plant to grow. Penstemon smallii has a compact bushy appearance, and grows to approximately 2 ft while in bloom.
The throats of the pinkish-purple tubular flowers are marked with white. Small's Beardtongue has green, purple-veined opposite leaves set on dark purple stems. The gorgeous blooms are long lasting and add a color to the garden from mid to late spring. Beardtongue also makes a beautiful cut flower and has a rather magical appearance as if from another realm. The basal rosette turns an a lovely reddish/ bronze in fall. Small's Beardtongue attracts many bees, butterflies and especially hummingbirds whom love its tubular flowers.
Flower photo credit: Erin O'Hara