Beard tongue, or penstemon, provide color to the garden without the need for a lot of maintenance. Often added to xeriscaping and other drought-tolerant landscape designs, beard tongue is a short-lived perennial that blooms in the summer months. Beard tongue grows between 2 and 4 feet tall, producing trumpet-shaped flowers in a variety of colors. As a short-lived perennial, beard tongue can survive in the garden for three or more years if it is properly cared for over the winter months.
Clear away fallen leaves and other garden debris in the fall before the first frost. Beard tongue prefers no extra winter mulching and disease organisms may live in the mulch and infest the plant.
Cut back the entire plant with pruning clippers after the first hard frost in fall kills the foliage. Cut back each stem to within 2 inches of the soil and dispose of or compost the clippings.
Water beard tongue throughout winter when the ground isn't frozen and when there isn't any natural precipitation. Water enough to moisten the top 3 inches of soil every six weeks during dry thaw periods.