Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Penstemon triflorus (Hill country penstemon)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Penstemon triflorus

Penstemon triflorus A. Heller

Hill Country Penstemon, Hill Country Beardtongue, Scarlet Penstemon, Scarlet Beardtongue, Heller's Penstemon, Heller's Beardtongue

Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)


USDA Symbol: petr2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Penstemon triflorus is 1 1/2-2 ft. tall. Its brilliant red flowers, 2 in. long, are among the most showy of the genus. Pairs of dark-green leaves occur opposite eachother along the stem. The two-lipped flowers also occur in pairs.

Small bushy stature, intense red color, and largeness of flowers set this penstemon apart from others.


From the Image Gallery

38 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Pubescence: Puberulent
Leaf Margin: Dentate
Inflorescence: Panicle , Terminal
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.
Flower: Flower up to an inch wide. Sepals 5

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul


Native Distribution: Endemic to the Edwards Plateau in TX
Native Habitat: Limestone hills; open areas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Limestone soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based
Conditions Comments: Hill Country penstemon is a striking prairie or garden plant, and is another fabulous cut flower. Provides nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds. Cut back the old seed stalks or allow them to reseed. Hybridizes with the closely related Penstemon cobaea. Small bushy stature, intense red color, and largeness of flowers set this Penstemon apart from others.


Use Ornamental: Perennial garden, Blooms ornamental, Showy
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagation is by seed or cuttings.
Seed Collection: Collect seed mid-summer, making sure it has not had the opportunity to hybridize with P. cobea.
Seed Treatment: Germination is best with cold-moist stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Tohono Chul Park, Inc. - Tucson, AZ
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX


Bibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Penstemon triflorus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Penstemon triflorus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Penstemon triflorus


Record Modified: 2022-12-01
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back