Obedient Plant, False Dragonhead 'Vivid'

Physostegia virginiana

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Physostegia (fy-so-STEEJ-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: virginiana (vir-jin-ee-AN-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Vivid



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter




Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Jones, Alabama

Litchfield, Connecticut

Barnesville, Georgia

Decatur, Georgia

Belleville, Illinois

Inwood, Iowa

Barbourville, Kentucky

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Warwick, New York

Geneva, Ohio

Trafford, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Gainesville, Texas

Weatherford, Texas

Arlington, Virginia

Fort Valley, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Lakewood, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 21, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The flower color is vivid, a clear rich/saturated pink/purple, unlike the pastel colors that are more prevalent in this species. Flowering begins much later than other cultivars, in September here (Boston Z6a).

This cultivar is shorter than the species, 1-2' tall, and less inclined to need support.

Tolerates wet soil and clay---in the wild, this is a wet soil plant, though it's fairly drought tolerant in the garden. Salt tolerant, too.

This is a highly aggressive plant in the garden, spreading by underground runners. I consider it a thug. It's relatively high maintenance, as its rapid spread calls for frequent division, unless its roots are confined by a barrier. I wouldn't plant this in a border except in a large sunken plastic pot with the bas... read more


On Oct 14, 2011, Windy from Belleville , IL (Zone 6b) wrote:

Even though this plant will spread by runners, I missed having it when I moved from my southern home. I bought three plants and look forward to their comeback next year. They are attractive to butterflies and hummers visit them often for a drink.
When I bought these they were pot bound and the roots each carried a sprout on the end. I unraveled them and laid a few outside the hole still attached to the parent and covered the runner with additional top soil to help the spread.


On Sep 10, 2010, equinecpa from Gainesville, TX wrote:

I traded for just a couple of plants 2 years ago -and now I have a bed full. It is invasive but I enjoy it -not much else will grow in this garden and it is THRIVING. It even survived this summers invasion of grasshoppers!


On May 5, 2010, gardeningfun from Harpersfield, OH (Zone 5a) wrote:

The white Obedient Plant seems to truly be obedient, unlike the purple version; which is prolific. I bought both a white and a purple pot and the purple has become a 2' by 3' border. The white one is only an inch or so fuller this year. It hasn't spread at all in the bed. The purple are spreading everywhere and I can tell I will be pulling some of those out very soon. They are beautiful together and are one of my favorites. Very easy to grow in my clay soil. We had very high winds and lots of snow this winter, too; and it hasn't hurt them at all. I only put them in last summer and I will already be giving some of the purple to friends. Love it.


On Jul 28, 2007, hart from Shenandoah Valley, VA wrote:

Welcome blooms in late summer/early fall of a very pretty light fuschia purple. Very drought tolerant and if it gets too much shade, it will affect the amount of bloom.

Spreads vigorously by runners even in a dry spot so either plant where it is contained by edging or plant in a large pot or coffee can with the bottom cut out. Extra plants are very easily pulled back. Roots run about 4-5 inches deep at most so any barrier that deep will contain spreading.

This is a fun plant for children. It's called obedient plant because the blooms are hinged and if you push them to the side with your finger, they stay there.


On Mar 22, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Physostegia 'VIVID' -Obedient Plant - 2' Tall. Plant 14" apart. Spikes of lavender pink. A strong grower.

General Information:
Many spikes of flowers in mid summer. Each spike holds its many flower buds in rows which open sequentially from bottom to top. Drought resistant. Its common name arises from the ability of the individual flowers to hold any position you fancy to give them. Will take any space you give it, making a glorious show en masse. Good cut flower, Best selection for the coldest areas (zones 3 & 4), not for the Gulf states.


On May 29, 2004, angelap from Weatherford, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have a friend who lovingly refers to Physostegia as the "psycho plant". Of course, she lives much further north in a more temperate area than I do, and this plant is terribly invasive in her locale.

In my Texas garden, I have it planted on the north side of the house, under the eaves. It only gets LATE afternoon and evening sun, but still thrives. Yes, it is invasive, but I planted it with the idea that it would fill this narrow, somewhat dry, hot area, and it has. It stands up well to the runoff from the roof and it booms reliably from late summer through to first frost. I have it mixed with Mexican mint marigold and artemesia powis castle, and it makes a pretty show throughout the fall months.