Thursday, 05 September 2019

Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)

Welcome to the first edition of Plant of the Week. Every week will feature a native plant that is currently in bloom somewhere in Wisconsin.

Our first selection is the obedient plant. This early fall beauty has been particularly successful in 2019. It has rapidly grown and spread due to plenty of moisture along with summer sunshine.

Morphology

Physostegia virginiana is a broadleaf perennial. This member of the Lamiaceae family grows 3-4 feet tall and its rhizomes can spread 2-3 feet per year. Plants flower in late summer and fall, lasting 1 1/2 months. Flower stalks grow up to 10 1/2 inches and contain multiple flowers. The tubular flowers are white, lavender, or purplish pink, and they often have dots, fine stripes, or swirls of a slightly darker color.  Each flower produces 4 sharply angled, dull brown seeds.

Requirements

  • love the sun
  • likes plenty of moisture
  • grows in zones 3-9

Pros and Cons

They can tolerate both deer browse and clay soils. Stems tend to flop in rich soils, too much shade or hot summer temperatures. Given the right conditions, obedient plants spread quickly and may crowd out their neighbors. Hummingbirds and bumble bees love the blossoms.