San Marcos GrowersSan Marcos Growers
New User?
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
Search Utilities
Plant Database
Search by Plant Name
Advanced Search
Search by size, origins,
color, cultural needs, etc.
Website Search
Search for any word
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings



 Weather Station

Products > Penstemon eatonii
Penstemon eatonii - Firecracker Beardtongue

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Scrophulariaceae (Figworts)
Origin: Southwest (U.S.) (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): No Irrigation required
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Penstemon eatonii (Firecracker Beardtongue) - An evergreen perennial/ subshrub to 2 feet tall by about the same width when in flower with large paired lanceolate leathery leaves and vivid scarlet-red tubular flowers that rise above the foliage in late winter through spring. Plant in full sun in a very well-drained soil or raised mound and avoid summer irrigation. A very hardy plant tolerates temperatures well below 0 F and is useful in USDA zones 4 and above. This is a nice plant for naturalizing in a unirrigated hot area where its bight flowers can be enjoyed and attract hummingbirds yet it is not browsed by deer or rabbit. To tidy up the plant removed spent flower spike but be sure to leave some seed capsules to allow this plant to reseed. Penstemon eatonii is a widespread species native to the western U.S. from eastern Southern California to the Rocky Mountains where it can be found growing in desert mountains in the Pinyon-Juniper Woodland and Creosote Bush Scrub plant communities. The entomology for the genus name is a reference to the stamens of the flower but the precise meaning has been in debate. It is often written that it come from the Greek words 'penta' meaing "five" and 'stemon' meaning "thread" or "stamen" in reference to it having five stamens when the one staminode is included, but others offer another meaning since it was Linnaeus who first spelled the name for the genus incorrectly as Pentstemon, which would have corresponded with the root word 'penta'. When John Mitchell originally published the name for the genus in 1748 he spelled it in the manner we currently do, as Penstemon. This leads to the idea that the "pen" in Penstemon is not a reference to "five" but to the unusual combination of Latin and Greek words with the Latin word 'paene', meaning "nearly" or "almost" and the Greek word 'stemon' meaning "thread" or stamen in reference to the staminode, which is almost a functional stamen. The specific epithet honor American botanist Daniel Cady Eaton (1834-1895) who studied under Asa Gray and became one of America's first professors of botany and Curator of the Yale Herbarium. Another common name for this plant is Eaton's Penstemon. Our plants from Takao Nursery.  The information on this webpage is based on research conducted about this plant in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of it as it grows in the nursery in containers, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it growing. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from those who may have additional information, particularly if this information includes cultural information that would aid others in growing  Penstemon eatonii.