Obedient Plant has Wonderful Flowers

Featured Photo Credit: Junfangsjs vis Pixabay

Obedient plant, true to its name, its flowers are “obedient” and can bend in any direction. The obedient plant is a flowering plant in the mint family that is easy to grow. It boasts tubular pink to pale lilac flowers in upright terminal spikes. The flowers bloom bottom to top on each spike. This is a wonderful species if you need a plant to fill in large spots around your yard. However, 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 the flowers resemble snapdragons.

Quick Growing Guide

Botanical Name: Physostegia virginiana

Botanical Family: Lamiaceae

Also Called: False dragonhead

En français: Physostégie de Virginie



Sun / Shade:


Water: Drought resistant once established

Hardiness Zones:

Like all plant members of the mint family, Obedient plant produces copious amounts of nectar. Blooming late summer and well into fall, Obedient Plant provides a much-needed boost of energy for pollinators facing the coming winter. Furthermore, hummingbirds and bees, including bumblebees and other long-tongued bees, are attracted to Obedient Plant’s flowers. it is deer resistant. Flowers can be used for . Prefers moist to boggy soils.

A patch of purple obediant plants in flower
A patch of obediant plants in flower

How do you care for the Obedient plant? 

It is best for obedient plants to grow in moist, loamy, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. Even though they thrive in moist, slightly acidic soil (5.4 to 6.2 pH), they can also thrive in average and poor soil, and spreading is much less of an issue there. 

In full sun, they grow best and produce the most blooms, but partial shade is fine as well, especially during dry summers. Unless you want to spend most of your gardening time tearing back your obedient plant, you should probably keep it under less than ideal conditions. The most effective way to care for a plant is to dig its rhizomes and deadhead its spent flowers before they drop their seeds. 

Do I need to deadhead the obedient plant?

You can encourage obedient plants to flower a second time by deadheading them. The earlier you deadhead, the less likely it is that the seed will be propagated unintentionally. Early deadheading is recommended to prevent them from going to seed and spreading even more aggressively.

When does it bloom?

Obedient plants produce trumpet-shaped pink, purple, or white flowers that are excellent for fresh arrangements in the late summer and early fall. There is a height range between 18 and 36 inches for these plants. 

How much water does it need?

It is recommended to water obedient plants once or twice a week after they properly establish their root in the soil. The plant is mainly erect, perennial, and does not require much water but prefers plenty of moisture. Obedient plants should not be fertilized unless they show signs of nutritional deficiencies. The less fertilizer you use, the less aggressively the plant spreads.

Is obedient plant invasive? 

Plants like Obedient are vigorous and can easily spread and cover any certain area with their younglings, making great groundcover plants for difficult sites. When your obedient plant grows thick, it will compete with your other perennials and eventually take over. So, plant the obedient plant where its spread can be controlled to prevent its invasive nature. 

How to eradicate obedient plants?

Obedient Plants become too aggressive in certain locations, and it is best to remove them in the Spring if they start to regrow and spread in an invasive way. These plants with rhizomes attached can be pulled out with a garden fork once the soil has been loosening. You cannot completely eradicate this plant with one weeding, but you can manage it with diligence.

Then, at that point, monitor the region to check whether any new plants are sprouting and eliminate those. You can properly take care of most of your Obedient Plant invasion in your garden only after several tries.

Is obedient plant deer resistant?

Deers do not feed on obedient plants and tend to shy away from areas with the plant. Planting and using obedient plants in a site where deer browse for food is possible and can be helpful due to the plant’s deer-resistant properties.

Companion Plants

Obedient plant combines well with the blue flowers of the late summer garden, like Caryopteris, Russian sage, and Catmint. The spiky flowers are also a nice contract with asters, sedum, and coneflowers. Because of its obedient habit, it’s a fun plant for children’s gardens. Flowers of the obedient plant make long-lasting cut flowers.

Sources and References

Missouri Botanical Garden

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