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Obedient Plant Care (Physostegia Virginiana)

Updated: December 30, 2022

Have you ever noticed a profusion of elaborate pink spikes of blooms that look like snapdragons in mid- late summer? – You have undoubtedly seen the Obedient Plant. It takes its title from the ability of the blossoms on the stalks to be distorted into any position and remain in that position.

The Obedient Plant is similar to Foxglove or Snapdragons in its native habitat. It is quite effective in attracting bees. Keep reading to learn more about how to care for the Obedient Plant.

Does The Obedient Plant Have Any Other Names?

The Botanical name for the Obedient Plant is Physostegia virginiana. It is also commonly referred to as the ‘False Dragonhead.’

Different Types Of Obedient Plants

Before anything else, there are several various Obedient Plant varieties that you should know. These include:

Vivid Obedient Plant

The Vivid Obedient Plant could develop up to two feet tall and has purple tubular flowers up to mid-summer. This particular Plant could be grown in hardiness zones 2 to 8.

Variegata Obedient Plant

This Plant’s Variegata variation may be cultivated in USDA zones 3 to 9, and it has green leaves with cream-colored borders. Once this plant flowers, it yields vivid pink flowers.

Main Uses Of Obedient Plants

Pollinators such as bumblebees and hummingbirds are drawn to these fragrant plants. Hummingbirds love Obedient Plants, and they make an excellent bumblebee habitat in a backyard or a garden.

Because they have a long flowering period, they enhance the appearance of a backyard or garden all year round and make an excellent ground cover.

Alternatively, you can utilize them as cut flowers. They go well with Coneflower, Aster flowers, Variegata, or other cultivars like ‘Miss Manners.’

The obedient plant is a great outdoor plant for any backyard and goes well with some other plants such as:

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How To Prune Obedient Plants

Trimming Obedient Plants is important sometimes, but only in the Spring.

Pruning in the early summer encourages branching, which results in more blooms and a more condensed plant. Prune the stems back approximately 3 to 4”, and new branches will develop, usually capped with a flower bud.

During Spring, ensure that all old leaves are removed. The old leaves could be used to maintain the plants thriving throughout the winter months.

Plants may require to be divided or staked after a few years. Incredibly large clumps should be divided and replanted, or shared. Even little rhizome fragments will grow into healthy new plants.

Best Soil For Obedient Plants

Obedient Plants are easy to grow and are drought resistant and forgiving. Though they appreciate wet, slightly acidic soil (5.5 to 6.3 pH), they will thrive just well in medium to poor soil, and spreading will not be much of a concern.

Bear in mind that these plants could also be grown from cuttings or seeds. Therefore, keep the soil moist but not soaked since root rot could rapidly become a significant problem, which is hard to deal with.

How Much Light Do Obedient Plants Need?

Obedient Plants tend to thrive and yield the most flowers in full direct sunshine. Whereas they can be grown in partial shade, it is not advisable to do so in the Spring. During the warmest months of the year, a partial shadow could help shield the Plant’s leaves.

How Often To Water Obedient Plants

Once established, the plants must be watered 1-2 times per week. Because during Winter, the Obedient Plants are dormant; you should not water the Plant.

Ideal Temperature Conditions For Obedient Plants

These are hardy plants that can be grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 10. They like hot, dry climates with temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Humidity Conditions For Obedient Plants

Obedient Plants thrive in moist to medium humidity conditions. It could withstand short periods of drought, but the lowest leaves might become yellow and drop off. It should not be cultivated in drought-prone areas.

Best Fertilizer For Obedient Plants

Feed your Obedient Plants only if they exhibit signs of nutrient deficiency. One primary indicator that you feed your plants less fertilizer is they spread less aggressively.

Feed the obedience plant once every month in the Summer, Fall, and Spring with a calibrated 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer to ensure healthy bloom growth and root propagation.

How To Propagate Obedient Plants?

Like other rhizome-producing plants, including Bee Balm, the Obedient Plant could be propagated by unearthing and transferring young plants from the parent rhizome in the Spring.

  • Find a patch of Obedient Plant
  • Locate a little new growth plant
  • Carefully dredge up about 1 to 2” of rhizome root on every side of the Plant, and then slice the rhizome
  • Set in a pot with moist garden soil and put in a shady location for a few days
  • For around a week, move it to a location, which receives afternoon shade and morning sun

At this juncture, the young plants have rooted themselves sufficiently in the pots to be transplanted to a permanent position or moved to a bigger pot

Growth Rate Of Obedient Plants

Whenever these plants are exposed to direct sunshine, they develop quite rapidly. They grow more sluggish in partial shade. Obedient Plants could reach heights of 8 feet and widths of 3 feet.

Ideal Pot Size For Obedient Plants

The Obedient Plants generate colossal shafts of beautiful trumpet-like white, purple, or pink blooms in late summer and early fall. The plants develop 18 -36” tall and are hardy to deer. A huge pot that could support the wide structure of the Obedient Plant will be great!

Repotting Tips For Obedient Plants

When repotting Obedient Plants, use a 1-2 times bigger pot than the Plant’s existing pot. This will allow your Plant to flourish and prevent the roots from becoming tangled, which may be pretty hazardous. Ensure to utilize rich, well-draining soil as well.


Are Obedient Plants Edible?

Although the Obedient Plant is certainly edible, pond fish are reluctant to consume it because of the oil-rich idioblasts found on its foliage, roots, and stems. These generate an unpleasant flavor, as indicated by the fact that insects and wildlife shun this Plant.

Are Obedient Plants Toxic To Cats And Dogs?

Obedient Plants are generally non-toxic and hence safe to cultivate in households that keep cats and dogs.

Are Obedient Plants Poisonous?

Although not harmful to animals or humans, the Obedient Plant does exhibit a somewhat unusual adaptation; it includes both external and internal idioblasts.

What Are The Problems Affecting Obedient Plants?

Mites and Aphids could wreak havoc on the Obedient Plant. In damp places, leaf rust could cause damage to these plants. Fungicides can be used to treat rust, or you can thin the plants to improve airflow.