Physostegia virginiana  'Pink Manners'Physostegia PInk Manners

    Perennial of the Month-- February 2013 Perry caricature



(fii-so-stee' gee-ah  vir-gin-ee-aa' nah) (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name:  Obedient Plant, False Dragonhead

Family:  Mint (Lamiaceae)

Height x width: 24-36" x 18-24"

Growth rate, habit: moderate, upright

Foliage: dark green, opposite, oblong to lanceolate, serrate, 3-5" long; square stems 

Flowers:  white to pale pink buds open to spikes of closely spaced lavender-pink flowers, to 1" or so long; flowers arranged in 4 vertical rows on the spikes in mid-summer, often lasts into late summer

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-9

Soil:  average to poor, tolerates moist

Light:  full sun to part shade (4-6 hours of direct sun per day)

Pests and problems:  none significant, deer resistant

Landscape habit, uses:  borders, mixed plantings, prairie gardens, rain gardens, cottage gardens, water gardens along edges, wildlife (butterflies, hummingbirds), large containers, cut flowers; combines with pink to red or yellow such as in daylilies and 'Raspberry Wine' bee balm, with other upright and blue flowers such as some speedwells and for contrast in texture with Russian sage; among groundcovers such as 'Pink Pewter' lamium; among moor grass or in front or or massed with grasses such as switchgrasses (particularly red- or blue-leaved) 

massed especially to separate other colors, large containers, cut flowers; don't combine directly with off white colors; for dramatic effect combine with dark colors such as dark red lilies and daylilies, blue bellflowers and catmints, or dark-leaved loosestrifes; combine in contained beds with variegated ribbon grass to echo the white margins

Other interest: introduced in 2010 from breeding of Darrel Probst (MA) who also introduced the white 'Miss Manners' previously in late 1990's; species is originally native to North America; common name from flower appearance, and when turned sideways stays there (i.e. obedient)

Other culture:  unlike most in this species, this selection does not need staking and does not spread but stays in a clump

Propagation:  commercially by licensed propagators (PPAF), home gardens by spring division if needed, or stem cuttings early summer

Sources:  many online and local specialty nurseries

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