Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Plant Profile: Obedient Plant

Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana) is also known as False Dragonhead or Virginia Lions-heart. This perennial wildflower blooms in shades of pink to lavender. In the mid-summer, it sends up tall stalks of tubular flowers that reach three to four feet high. The individual blossoms resemble snapdragons and are visited by a wide range of pollinators.

It is native to most of Eastern North America and is hardy to USDA zones 3 to 9. The flowers have no scent and it is deer- and rabbit-resistant. The long blooming period is a result of the individual flowers opening in sequence up the stem over a matter of several weeks.

Obedient Plant prefers full sun, but will bloom sporadically in part shade to full shade locations as well. It tolerates poor soil, drought, and poor drainage. It is easy to dig out a shallow root section to move or share it.

There is no need to fertilize it or give it any special care. You may wish to cut off the tall flower spikes once it finishes blooming to prevent the seeds from forming and spreading.

It is a member of the Mint family and there you have your warning. This plant will take over, if you don’t stay vigilant. It is not called “obedient” due to its growing habit. Instead, it gets that common name because the flower position on the stem is pliable and easy to work with in floral arrangements.

Better-behaved cultivars include ‘Miss Manners’, which is a clumping form with white flowers, and better suited for a mixed garden border.

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Video and Audio by Kathy Jentz
Editing by Melinda Thompson

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~ Podcast: GardenDC


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