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Virginia Lions-heart Physostegia virginiana

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
fy-so-STAY-jee-ah vir-jin-ee-AY-nah
Description

In the mint family, the obedient plant gets its name from the ability of the flowers on the stalk to be twisted into any position, where they will remain.  It can be invasive in rich, moist soils, so gardeners should divide clumps every year or so to keep plants contained, and pull out plants invading other parts of the garden. A great choice for a meadow or native garden as it is visited by bees, hummingbirds and other pollinators.  

The flowers are 1" pale purple to rose, borne on a showy terminal spike.  The corolla is swollen at the throat, the upper lip is domed, the lower lip is spreading and has three lobes.  Its stems may flop in rich soils, shade or hot temperatures, making staking of taller plants necessary.  Each spike of flowers bloom starting at the bottom and working their way up the spike to the top.  

Obedient plants grow best in moist, well-drained, moderately fertile soil and sun to part sun.  In the wild, they can be found in wet meadows, barrens and glades, seepages in open woods, damp thickets, among other sites. It does grow in open upland forests as long as the soil is quite high in pH. Uncommon to infrequent in the NC mountains.  They can be propagated by seed or by the division of roots in the spring.

Problems:  Susceptible to blackspot fungal disease.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Miss Manners', 'Summer Snow'
Tags:
#bees#sun#showy flowers#partial shade#perennial#container plant#pink flowers#weedy#native perennial#honey bees#nectar plant#cut flowers#riparian#fall interest#long-lasting flowers#summer flowers#deer resistant#native garden#long bloom time#rhizomatous#pollinator plant#food source fall#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains FAC#Coastal FACW#clay soils tolerant#flowers early fall#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant late summer#nectar plant early fall#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Miss Manners', 'Summer Snow'
Tags:
#bees#sun#showy flowers#partial shade#perennial#container plant#pink flowers#weedy#native perennial#honey bees#nectar plant#cut flowers#riparian#fall interest#long-lasting flowers#summer flowers#deer resistant#native garden#long bloom time#rhizomatous#pollinator plant#food source fall#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains FAC#Coastal FACW#clay soils tolerant#flowers early fall#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant late summer#nectar plant early fall#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Physostegia
    Species:
    virginiana
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America, North Carolina
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Description:
    Displays from August to November.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    1 in. pale purple to rose flowers borne in a showy terminal spike. The corolla is swollen at the throat, the upper lip is domed, the lower lip spreading with three lobes. Blooms from July to October.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Sharply toothed, lance-shaped leaves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Smooth, erect, often-branching stem.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Pond
    Riparian
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Problems:
    Weedy