3 to 9
3.00 to 4.00 feet
2.00 to 3.00 feet
June to September
Naturalize, Rain Garden
Showy, Good Cut
Deer, Clay Soil
|Easily grown in average, moist, acidic, well-drained soils in full sun. Stems tend to flop in rich soils, too much shade or hot summer temperatures. Taller plants may need staking. Tolerates wet soils and some part shade.
Physostegia virginiana, commonly called obedient plan or false dragonhead, is a rhizomatous perennial that is native to North America from Quebec to Manitoba south to Florida and New Mexico. In Missouri, it is commonly found in a variety of habitats including open meadows, prairies, stream banks, gravel bars, wooded bluff bases and railroad track right-of-ways (Steyermark). Tubular, two-lipped, snapdragon-like, pink to pale lilac flowers in upright terminal spikes (each to 12-18”) bloom throughout summer (late June-September) atop square stems rising to 2-4’ tall. Flowers bloom bottom to top on each spike, with each flower being subtended by a small leaf-like bract. Stems are clad with opposite, narrow-lanceolate, sharply-toothed leaves (to 3-6” long). Species plants are noted for being aggressive spreaders in the landscape by both rhizomes and self-seeding.
Genus name comes from the Greek words physa meaning bladder and stege meaning covering in reference to the calyces which inflate as they develop.
Specific epithet is in reference to the State of Virginia which is part of the native range for this plant.
Genus members are commonly called obedient plants because each individual flower will, upon being pushed in any one direction, temporarily remain in the new position as if it were hinged. Genus members are also commonly called false dragonhead because the flowers are suggestive of the flowers of dragonhead (Dracocephalum).
No serious insect or disease problems. Rust is an occasional problem. Watch for aphids and spider mites. Species plants can be an aggressive spreader.
Borders, cottage gardens, wild gardens, prairies or meadows.
|Information on this page is generally from Missouri Botanical Gardens,
Dave’s Garden, All things Plants or Texas Superstar
This page last updated or reviewed 210705