Obedient plant shines in the summer

Obedient plant in bloom in Downtown McKinney this past Sunday as Lynn and I were leaving the First United Methodist Church. Click image for larger view.

I mentioned in the tease that we don’t have a lot of perennials that relish summer conditions. Obedient plant (Physotegia virginiana), however, does. Perhaps that’s because it’s native to a big swath of North America from Quebec and Manitoba down to New Mexico and Florida.

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Individual flowers can be positioned for purpose of arranging them temporarily.

It’s a strongly rooted plant with spreading rhizomes that adapt well to a wide assortment of soils. It grows to 16 to 30 inches tall (taller in moist, highly organic soils), and its usually lavender flowers are borne on square upright stems.

The flowers somewhat resemble snapdragons, and they’re given the name “obedient” because they hold their position for a short while when placed manually.

Established clumps of Physotegia plants are in full flower right now. Click image for larger view.

Obedient plant is easily grown. Give it morning sun, perhaps with a bit of afternoon shade in the summer. Its stems will become floppy if the plants are given too much shade, however, so try to hit that perfect mid-point.

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White selections are also available, including Miss Manners® and Crystal Peak White®. Both produce clear white floral spikes that bring a pristine look to their surroundings.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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