Ohio NativesPlantsMarch 19, 2023by Colin0Obedient Plant

Obedient Plant, scientifically known as Physostegia virginiana, is a versatile and charming native perennial that brings beauty, color, and interest to gardens and natural landscapes. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the history, growing instructions, maintenance tips, and other essential aspects of Obedient Plant.

History and Significance

Obedient Plant is native to North America and has a rich history. The plant’s unique name comes from the characteristic of its flowers, which can be bent into different positions and stay in place, as if obedient to the gardener’s touch. This feature has made it a favorite among gardeners and plant enthusiasts.

Growing Obedient Plant

Here are some essential guidelines for successfully growing Obedient Plant:

  1. Location: Obedient Plant thrives in full sun to partial shade. It prefers moist, well-drained soil, but can tolerate a variety of soil types. Choose a location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day and provides enough space for the plant to grow and spread.
  2. Planting: Start Obedient Plant from nursery-bought plants or sow seeds directly in the garden. Plant the young plants or seeds in spring or fall, ensuring they have enough space to establish their root systems. Space them about 1 to 2 feet apart to allow for their spreading growth habit.
  3. Watering: Obedient Plant prefers consistently moist soil but can tolerate short periods of drought once established. Water the plant regularly, especially during dry spells, to keep the soil evenly moist. Mulching around the plants helps retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
  4. Maintenance: Obedient Plant is a low-maintenance perennial. It forms clumps and spreads slowly through rhizomes. Deadhead the faded flowers to encourage continuous blooming and prevent self-seeding. Cut back the stems in late fall or early spring to maintain the plant’s shape and control its growth.
  5. Propagation: Obedient Plant can be propagated through division or by collecting and planting seeds. Divide the clumps every few years in early spring or fall by carefully separating the roots and replanting them. Collect seeds from the dried seed heads and sow them directly in the garden or save them for future planting.

Uses and Benefits

  1. Unique Flower Form: Obedient Plant’s flowers are tubular and have a unique characteristic of being able to stay in different positions when bent, giving it its common name. This feature makes it an interesting addition to flower arrangements and a source of fascination in the garden.
  2. Attracts Pollinators: The flowers of Obedient Plant are highly attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. By planting it, you can create a haven for these beneficial insects and contribute to the overall health of your garden ecosystem.

Interesting Facts

  • Obedient Plant is also known by other common names, including False Dragonhead and False Dragonflower.
  • The plant’s scientific name, Physostegia virginiana, is derived from the Greek words “physa” meaning “bladder” and “stege” meaning “covering,” referring to the inflated calyx of the flower.
  • Obedient Plant has been used in traditional medicine by Native American tribes to treat various ailments, including fevers and respiratory conditions.

Obedient Plant is a captivating native perennial that not only adds beauty to gardens but also offers unique flower forms and attracts pollinators. By incorporating this plant into your Ohio landscape, you can enjoy its stunning blooms, create interest, and support the biodiversity of your garden.



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