En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Is the Obedient Plant a bog plant?

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Saturday - August 16, 2008

From: Island Lake, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Water Gardens, Soils, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Is the Obedient Plant a bog plant?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I purchased 2 obedient plants at a farmer's market in Michigan. As I was unfamiliar with this plant, the merchant told me it did well in full sun. It was just what I needed. When I got home I looked it up on your website and was dismayed to find out yes, it does like full sun. But it is a swamp/bog/pond plant. I have plenty of sun but no wet area to plant in. What would be next best? Sun and heavily mulched? Shade (where it will be easier to keep it's "feet" wet) I need help.

ANSWER:

Never fear, Mr. Smarty Plants is here. There are four different species or subspecies of Obedient Plant in our Native Plant Database, all are native to Illinois, and here is the true word on each:

Physostegia intermedia (slender false dragonhead) - The webpage for this plant says it will grow in shallow standing water, does not require that.

Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant) - doesn't mention it standing or growing in water at all.

Physostegia virginiana ssp. praemorsa (obedient plant) - likes moist soil, will grow near bog or pond area

Physostegia virginiana ssp. virginiana (obedient plant) - no mention of water

In Texas, with much drier soils and hotter sun, we have treated the Obedient Plant as a part shade plant, and tried to put it in an area where the soil would stay more moist. It did just fine. In Illinois, it could probably be in full sun, again, with just a little more moisture in the soil. The point is, if you ever did want a plant that would grow at the edge of a pond or bog area, well, here it is.


Physostegia intermedia

Physostegia virginiana

Physostegia virginiana ssp. virginiana

Physostegia virginiana ssp. praemorsa

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

Winter trimming of Greggs mistflower
November 11, 2007 - Do I cut my gregg's mist back to the ground for the winter or just leave it alone?
view the full question and answer

Failure of tall garden phlox buds to open in St. Louis MO
July 30, 2009 - Why won't the buds of my tall garden phlox open? Plants are apparently healthy, no powdery mildew or visible insects, foliage looks great and buds are profuse but they don't open. I have two clumps ...
view the full question and answer

Backward blooming Jack-in-the-pulpit
April 18, 2008 - why does my jack in the pulpit plant bloom backwards
view the full question and answer

Purchase of Galphimia angustifolia from Austin
June 08, 2014 - I have a Thryallis, Galphimia augustifolia, or Thryallis autustifolia, growing from a limestone ledge in my yard in west Austin TX. I have tried unsuccessfully to buy this native. Do you sell it at t...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center