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Physostegia virginiana

Pronunciation: Fy-so-steej-ee-uh vir-jin-ee-an-uh
Family: Lamiaceae/labiatae (mint family)
Common Name: Obedient plant, false dragonhead
Plant Type:
  • perennial
Height to: 3'
Width to: 2'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -30 to -40ºF ZONE 3
  • -20 to -30ºF ZONE 4
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • mid summer
  • early autumn
Bloom Description: The pale lavender-pink flowers are borne in showy spikes atop 2-4 ft (0. 6-0. 9 m) stalks in late summer and fall. The tubular 1 in (2. 5 cm) blossoms are arranged in vertical columns along the flower spike and the lower ones open first. Each flower has a two-lobed upper lip and a spotted three-lobed lower lip. The flower bearing stems are usually unbranched, but they may have one or two forks near the top. The weakly three-sided 1/8 in (0. 3 cm) nutlets that ripen in the fall are brown and have smooth dull surfaces.
Soil Type: Lightly acid sandy loam is probably the best soil type for physostegia virginiana, but it will grow on a variety of moist soils. Anywhere in the ph 5-7 range is fine. Fertilize often during the growing season and mulch well in the fall in cold climates. Divide every 2-3 years in the spring.
Plant Perks:
  • Attracts Butterflies
Pests and Diseases: Rust fungus
Propagation: Obedient plant can be sown outdoors in spring or summer (up to two months before the first frost) or indoors anytime. For best germination rates, sow in the fall as soon as the seeds are ripe. Sow them where they are to grow or leave the flats outdoors for three months of damp stratification at about 40f (4. 4c). Seedlings will appear a few weeks after spring temperatures rise into the 70f (21c) range. Indoors, use a rich loamy soil mix and keep it moist and around 70-75 f (21-24c). Germination will occur in 1-4 weeks.
Native to: Eastern north america from quebec to manitoba, and south to texas, louisiana, alabama and georgia. Obedient plant occurs in swamps, streambanks, ditches, seepages, damp meadows and prairies, moist open woodlands, bogs, and pine savannas.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - physostegias are widely used in wildflower meadows and water garden fringes, as well as in more civilized borders. The blossoms are long lasting as cut flowers. They are especially easy to arrange because flowers pushed to face a different direction from the stem will stay in their new positions obediently, which is where the plant got its name. This is a wonderful plant to add luminous rosy lavender late season color to the bronzy golds and yellows of a damp meadow. It holds its own with grasses very well. And it is classified as deer resistant, so it should bloom well in places where deer would eat the tasty buds off other flowers. warningobedient plant can be an aggressive colonizer, especially on rich moist sites. To keep it a genuinely obedient plant, pick a place with drier soil and cut down on the fertilizer.
USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • Less then 1 day ZONE 1
  • 1 to 7 days ZONE 2
  • 7 to 14 days ZONE 3
  • 14 to 30 days ZONE 4
  • 30 to 45 days ZONE 5
  • 45 to 60 days ZONE 6
  • 60 to 90 days ZONE 7
  • 90 to 120 days ZONE 8
Seed photo: 0
Located in: Seed Photos
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