Large-Flowered Beardtongue

colored pencil drawing of penstemon flowers
Large-flowered Beardtongue, Penstemon grandiflorum
2015

Gardens can take a lot of work to keep the soil rich and fertile, especially when you aren’t blessed with the perfect loam. And those domesticated garden flowers will let you know when your soil’s not perfect! But believe it or not, there are garden-worthy wildflowers out there that aren’t so picky.

Have poor, sandy soil? Dirt that could be described better as a gravel pit? A dry hill that kills everything but weeds?

There’s a wildflower for that! Large-Flowered Beardtongue, one of the showiest penstemon plants, loves poor soil. If it’s rocky or sandy, scorchingly sunny and dry—this plant will thrive. At two inches long, a single blossom isn’t all that grand, but put 8-15 on a stem, and they really stand out—even when zooming by on a highway at 65 mph.