The Carillo Purple Beardtongue (Penstemon X Mexicali ‘Carillo Purple’) Care Guide

The Carillo Purple Beardtongue, otherwise known as the Penstemon X Mexicali ‘Carillo Purple’ or Beardtongue ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’, Beard Tongue ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’, ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ Hybrid Beardtongue, is a rather well known perennial plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and fast growth, this perennial will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, taking care of your Carillo Purple Beardtongue is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Carillo Purple Beardtongue Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Carillo Purple Beardtongue are the following:

  • Water: The Carillo Purple Beardtongue grows best with watering each week. Increase the frequency of watering when it gets hot.
  • Light: Keep your Penstemon X Mexicali ‘Carillo Purple’ in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Carillo Purple Beardtongue in soil with well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, chalk, and loam.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Carillo Purple Beardtongue is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Carillo Purple Beardtongue buds

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Carillo Purple Beardtongue belongs to the Plantaginaceae family, and the genus Penstemon, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Penstemon X Mexicali ‘Carillo Purple’.

As with other Penstemon’s, the Carillo Purple Beardtongue is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year. 

Growing Region

The Carillo Purple Beardtongue is a plant native to the USA and Mexico.

You might be wondering why your Carillo Purple Beardtongue’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Penstemon X Mexicali ‘Carillo Purple’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a and the ideal climate zone is between 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Carillo Purple Beardtongue is a relatively fast grower, which makes things tricky for any plant enthusiast.


But, how big does the Carillo Purple Beardtongue actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Penstemon X Mexicali ‘Carillo Purple’ can grow up to 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) and 10″ – 1′ (25cm – 30cm) in 10″ – 1′ (25cm – 30cm). 

These dimensions make the Carillo Purple Beardtongue a relatively medium perennial compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful mounding shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 12″ – 15″ (30cm – 37cm) free so the Carillo Purple Beardtongue can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Carillo Purple Beardtongue is a fairly simple plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Penstemon X Mexicali ‘Carillo Purple’ grows best with watering each week. Increase the frequency of watering when it gets hot.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively low needs in terms of water. 

Carillo Purple Beardtongue care


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Carillo Purple Beardtongue in soil with well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, moist, and occasionally dry properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Carillo Purple Beardtongue since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Carillo Purple Beardtongue prefers to have soil with good drainage, moist, and occasionally dry properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, chalk, and loam.

This is why most experts agree that the Carillo Purple Beardtongue requires soil with clay, loam (silt), sand, and shallow rocky, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Carillo Purple Beardtongue requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this perennial will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Penstemon X Mexicali ‘Carillo Purple’ in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a herbaceous plant, the Carillo Purple Beardtongue will die back to the ground every year. 

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


You can expect your Carillo Purple Beardtongue to flower around the spring, summer and the fall months from April to June (spring), from July to September (summer), and from October to December (fall).

In particular, this perennial is well known for its long bloom season, flowers for cutting and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Carillo Purple Beardtongue produces some beautiful purple, or red/burgundy flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Carillo Purple Beardtongue have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a opposite organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Penstemon X Mexicali ‘Carillo Purple’ to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

Carillo Purple Beardtongue and birds

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Carillo Purple Beardtongue is well known for being able to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for salt, dry soil, drought and animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Penstemon X Mexicali ‘Carillo Purple’ will be fine.


Now, let’s talk garden and how your Carillo Purple Beardtongue will look best in it.

Most Penstemon X Mexicali ‘Carillo Purple’ owners agree that this perennial will look great in most mediterranean, cottage and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of gravel and rock garden, prairie and meadow, coastal garden, informal and cottage, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Carillo Purple Beardtongue’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in patio and containers, others use it for landscaping in a rock garden, mass planting, container, border, cutting garden, firescaping/fire wise, or a wildlife garden.


So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Carillo Purple Beardtongue in your garden or home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

Recent Posts