Gulf Coast Penstemon (above, center left) may not be long-lived -- the verdict is still out on that -- but it's very showy. I love the purple pink color of the flowers, which are small but very numerous.
Small's Beardtongue is a beautiful penstemon that likes dry part shade. It's usually short-lived so I collect seed after flowering to ensure that I will always have some. The seed does not require pretreatment and plants are easy to raise from seed.
Eastern Gray Beardtongue is a typical penstemon in that it prefers a dry lean soil. Now that we're out of the floodplain I can grow more types of Penstemon than I used to, and don't have to consider them annuals in case there's a flood.
I grew Eastern Gray Beardtongue (Penstemon canescens) from seed that I received in the NC Botanical Garden wildflower seed program. The tops of the flowers appear pink in some bright light and ageratum blue at dawn and dusk.
This beardtongue is Foxglove Beardtongue (P. digitalis) and may be the most versatile penstemon in my garden. It can do well with a lot of moisture, average garden soil, sun or part shade.
I got this gorgeous purple Penstemon in a trade with a gardening friend. Its identity is uncertain. (Update: this is Penstemon 'Midnight'.) It originally came from Plant Delights, who has sold a number of purple penstemons over the years. It has one spectacular display in spring, followed by sporadic bloom thereafter.
With Oak-Leaved Hydrangea