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FutureStarrFall Obedient Plant or
This attractive plant is snapdragon-like, but its square stem is typical of the mint family. If the flowers are bent, they tend to stay in the new position for a while, hence the common name Obedient Plant. Several garden forms occasionally escape to the wild. Flowers can be swivelled into new positions where they stay obediently. (Ontario Native Plants 2002)Conditions Comments: Obedient plant receives its name from the characteristic fact that if you manipulate an individual flower back and forth on its axis, it will stay in position you place it. It is wonderfully adaptable, tolerating both drought and poor drainage. Spreads aggressively by stolons, but is easy to pull out and keep in check. Obedient plant is a good nectar source for butterflies. This perennial is easy to establish and maintain. It can become aggressive but the shallow roots are easy to pull out.
Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana), also known as false dragonhead, is a flowering plant in the mint family that is easy to grow. True to its name, the plant's individual flowers are "obedient" and can bend in any direction. Unfortunately, this fast-growing perennial is not so obedient in the garden, where it can spread quite aggressively by rhizomes. Its other common name, false dragonhead, likely came about because of the flowers' resemblance to snapdragons. Marie Iannotti is a life-long gardener and a veteran Master Gardener with nearly three decades of experience. She's also an author of three gardening books, a plant photographer, public speaker, and a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. Marie's garden writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide and she has been interviewed for Martha Stewart Radio, National Public Radio, and numerous articles.After being sown in late fall before any snow is on the ground, obedient plant flowers begin to open in late summer, slowly blooming from the bottom of the flower stalk upward. They should remain in bloom well into fall. The long, ovate, serrated leaves are fairly nondescript during the non-flowering part of the season.
Some varieties turn red in the fall. The white, pink, and lavender flowers form along spikes, in four neat vertical rows, and begin opening from the bottom up. Pollinators like bees and hummingbirds are attracted to the obedient plant, which is easy to grow from seeds and has a germination rate of nearly 100 percent.Obedient plants can be started from seed, about two months before planting out or divide existing clumps in the spring. Cuttings taken from young, tender shoots also root well. If planting from seeds outdoors, plant the seeds just below the surface of the soil in groups of about two to three seeds spaced about 18 to 24 inches apart. If you're sowing the seeds in containers indoors, the planting depth will be the same. It will take about a week for seeds to germinate. Once the plants are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted to your garden a few weeks after the last frost. (Source: www.gardenstylesanantonio.com)