OBEDIENT PLANT, FALSE DRAGONHEAD

FAMILY: Lamiaceae | GENUS: PHYSOSTEGIA

TYPE
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9

Plant Details

These North America native plants have many fine qualitiesbut common name notwithstanding, obedience isn't one of them: Most are notoriously invasive when growing in moist, fertile soil. Keep that in mind when choosing a site, and don't let them spread into wild areas. Slender, upright stems carry medium green, oblong, 3- to 5 inches leaves with toothed edges and pointed tips. Dense spikes of funnel-shaped, 1 inches flowers in pink, rose, white, or lavender top the stems. Blossoms resemble snapdragons (hence the name false dragonhead) and remain in place if pushed or twisted out of position (hence obedient plant). Long-lasting cut flowers.

Spiky form makes these plants useful in composing borders. Combine with summer phlox (Phlox paniculata), asters, patrinia, Japanese anemone (Anemone hybrida), false aster (Boltonia). Tall bloom stalks may need staking. Cut to ground after bloom; divide every two years to keep plants in bounds.

physostegia angustifolia

  • Native to Texas, Illinois, Mississippi.
  • Grows 26 feet tall, 23 feet wide; tallest in swampy conditions, where plant forms thick colonies.
  • Pink-purple flowers on 4- to 6 inches spikes in spring and summer.

physostegia pulchella

  • Native to eastern Texas.
  • Grows to 2 feet tall (taller if kept moist), 1 feet wide.
  • Bears spikes of rosy purple flowers in spring and summer.

physostegia virginiana

  • Native to the eastern U.S. To 4 feet or taller, 2 feet wide.
  • Flowers are borne on 10 inches spikes from mid- or late summer into autumn.
  • Rose-pink 'Bouquet Rose' grows 3 feet tall.
  • Miss Manners has pure white blooms and forms a neat clump 22 feet high; it spreads to 3 feet or a little wider rather than running aggressively.
  • Pink Manners is similar but has pink flowers and grows to 3 feet tall.
  • Selections to about 2 feet tall include white 'Summer Snow'; bluish pink 'Variegata', with white-edged leaves; and rose-pink 'Vivid'.
  • Crystal Peak has sturdy stems of white flowers reaching 1215 inches high.

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