Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Obedient Plant

Obedient plant  (Physostegia virginiana) blooms from mid summer to fall, a period of about 6 weeks. It is a member of the mint family and has the characteristic square or angled stems that all mints have. However, unlike other mints I have grown, this one does not try to rule the earth. It does spread, but not enough to be a nuisance. But then, I relegate it to outlying areas of the flower bed, where the soil situation may not be the best. Last year I had a large colorful plant of it in an area I call the old garden, where soil is marginal at best.I suppose it arrived there from seed where I threw out old stalks I had cut down. It does best in well drained soil kept moist, but who can do that? I give it some water when the weather is dry to keep the bottom leaves from yellowing and grow it in mostly clay. It is called Obedient Plant because you can move the individual flowers in different directions on the stem and they stay where you move them. This is a good plant for cut arrangements, taking the place of snap dragons, which I have a hard time growing to any large size (I think it may be too hot here for the tall type). Most wildflower sites include this plant, noting that wild ones usually are white or at least lighter in color than the ones typically found in gardens. I got this one as a piece of rhizome from my mother's flower bed, altho it can spread from seed as well.

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