PHYSOSTEGIA Obedient Plant

An odd name like Obedient Plant needs some explanation. It arises from the peculiar property of the tubular flowers on the upright spikes when moved away from their natural position. Instead of breaking off or springing back like blooms of other plants, they stay in the position to which they have been pushed. Obedient, indeed! It is an easy plant to grow – all that is necessary is to add some compost or peat to the planting hole if your soil lacks humus, water when the weather is dry and cut down the stems in autumn. The taller varieties may require staking on an exposed site.

VARIETIES: There is just one species – P. virginiana. The basic details are height 2-3 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft.

Flowering period: July-September. The white, pink or purple flowers are borne in vertical rows on each spike. It can spread and get out of hand – lift. divide and replant every 3 years. The most popular variety is the late-flowering ‘Vivid’ (2 ft. rose-pink) – others are ‘Summer Snow’ (3 ft. white) and ‘Summer Spire’ (3 ft. deep pink).

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – thrives in sun or partial shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in spring.

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