Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

At what age does Possumhaw (Ilex decidua) begin to flower in Pflugerville, TX?
January 13, 2011 - At what age does a female possumhaw (Ilex decidua) usually bloom and set fruit? Or is there a way to identify the female other than by the presence of berries? I grew a number from seed and want to ...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of cardinal flower with variegated leaves from Wakefield RI
August 21, 2013 - I purchased cardinal flower seeds from the Brandywine museum & have had great success for over a decade. Recently I spotted one cardinal flower with variegated leaves. Is this a plant worth propagatin...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Mexican buckeye from seeds in San Antonio
October 02, 2009 - I recently collected seeds from a Mexican buckeye. Is it best to plant them now or wait until spring? Do they need to be scarified?
view the full question and answer

Why Did Gaillardia and Aquilegia Changed Color?
June 26, 2013 - Both a Gaillardia pulchella and two red columbines bloomed normally last summer, but this summer the Gaillardia's petals are all yellow and one columbine is white and the other is yellow. What caused...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Central Texas
July 01, 2013 - Hi. I recently moved into a remodeled home in Taylor, TX, and have experimented with Cabernet Savignon vines before. I have a 1/2 acre and a chain-link fence I want to put vines on. (I have a book o...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.