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Zones A3, 1-9, 14-24, 26, 28-45
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Moderate

Physostegia virginiana

False Dragonhead, Obedient Plant
Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Perennials

From eastern and central North America. Grows to 4 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide—or much wider, if rhizomes are allowed to spread unchecked. Slender, upright stems carry oblong, toothed, 3–5-in.-long leaves with pointed tips. In summer or early fall, each stem is topped by a 10-in.-long spike densely set with funnel-shaped, 1-in. flowers, typically in bright bluish pink. Blossoms resemble snapdragons (hence the name “false dragonhead”) and will remain in place if twisted or pushed out of position (hence the name “obedient plant”). ‘Bouquet Rose’ reaches 3 ft. high, has rose pink flowers. Varieties growing 2 ft. tall include rose pink ‘Vivid’, white ‘Summer Snow’, and ‘Variegata’, with bluish pink flowers and white-edged leaves.

Attractive in borders; good cut flowers. Bloom stalks may need staking to remain upright. Cut to the ground after bloom. Vigorous and notoriously invasive; to keep clumps in-bounds, divide them every 2 years in early spring.

 

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