En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - September 19, 2009

From: New Waterford, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Propagation
Title: Dividing obedient plant in New Waterford OH
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in northeast Ohio, and have an obedient plant, which has spread, (a little) since last year when I bought it. I really do like the plant, and wanted to put it in several more areas in the garden. What would be the best time to do this, and what would I have the most luck in doing? Should I dig up some of the shoots that are on the outside of the circular growth, and just replant them elsewhere? From what Ive read, it should spread easily. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks, Laura

ANSWER:

There are four members of the physostegia genus native to North America, and three native to Ohio: Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant), Physostegia virginiana ssp. praemorsa (obedient plant) and Physostegia virginiana ssp. virginiana (obedient plant). Since the same care requirements would apply to all of them, we'll use Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant) as our example. 

From our Native Plant Database, here are the Growing Conditons for the obedient plant:

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist, humus-rich soils.
Conditions Comments: Obedient plant receives its name from the characteristic fact that if you manipulate an individual flower back and forth on its axis, it will stay in position you place it. It is wonderfully adaptable, tolerating both drought and poor drainage. Spreads aggressively by stolons, but is easy to pull out and keep in check. Obedient plant is a good nectar source for butterflies. This perennial is easy to establish and maintain. It can become aggressive but the shallow roots are easy to pull out. 

Also from the Native Plant Database, here are Propagation Instructions:

Description: Propagate by division of roots or by seed. Plant seeds in fall or in spring after damp stratification. Clumps that form from spreading stolons can be divided in early spring or late fall.
Seed Collection: Seeds are 1/8, dull-brown nutlets.
Seed Treatment: Damp stratify 3 months at 40 degrees. 

It looks like division of the existing plants will be the easiest, fastest way to propagate your obedient plants. From Fine Gardening, here is an article on 10 Tips on Dividing Perennial Plants.

From our Native Plant Database:


Physostegia virginiana

Physostegia virginiana

Physostegia virginiana

Physostegia virginiana

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Propagation of endangered plant Texas trailing phlox from Carrollton TX
December 26, 2013 - 1. How many seeds does the Texas trailing phlox produce per season? 2. Can the seeds be taken from a living plant without hurting it? Thank You!
view the full question and answer

How to propagate Texas red buckeye (Aesculus sp.) from seeds
May 01, 2007 - I have a Texas Red Buckeye that is doing very well. How do I propagate from the seeds that come off of that tree? Thanks,
view the full question and answer

Duplicate of English holly for Eufaula OK
January 03, 2010 - I wish to have a shrub that would duplicate the red berries and foliage of English holly. Tolerance of cultivation is also desired.
view the full question and answer

When is it safe to mow wildflowers in Castroville, TX?
May 26, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My yard in Castroville, TX sprouted many wildflowers early in April. By now the Blue Bonnets are seeded and gone. However, I still have a lot of Mexican Blankets. My husba...
view the full question and answer

Dividing blackeyed susans in Lake Ronkoko NY
July 06, 2009 - How are you supposed to divide blackeyed susan's? And when is the best time to do this?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center