How to add the care-free obedient plant to your garden

A real problem-solving plant for areas with damp soil, obedient plant thrives with its roots sunk into soggy underpinnings. It offers plenty of luminous rose-pink or white flowers that coordinate with nearly everything else you grow. Here are some tips on adding the easy-to-grow obedient plant to your garden.

How to add the care-free obedient plant to your garden

Obedient plant in the landscape

Obedient plant is doubly appreciated because it develops its wands of trumpet-shaped blossoms in late summer, when little else is in flower, and the blooms linger into fall.

  • Because of its height, obedient plant is best suited to the back of a flower border.
  • Obedient plant stands a stately 1 to 1.5 metres (three to five feet) tall with sparse, pointed foliage.
  • Obedient plant is a good neighbour for late-blooming asters, moisture-loving meadow rue and clumps of ornamental grasses or sedges.
  • For a daring pink display, grow obedient plant in the company of pink-flowered garden phlox. Just bear in mind that obedient plant spreads by means of creeping roots that travel far and fast.
  • The obedient plant's meandering ways are an asset in more informal garden schemes where it can express its natural exuberance.

Playful plants

The obedient plant's common name refers to the unique way that the individual flowers, when nudged left or right, will remain pointed in that direction until you realign them. This characteristic makes it a fun-filled addition to a child's garden.

  • All cultivars make good cut flowers, but 'Bouquet Rose' is particularly valued for its flower spikes.
  • 'Vivid', the most popular garden variety, has hot pink flowers on shorter, 38 centimetre (15 inch) stems.
  • Pure white 'Summer Snow' has a less aggressive personality than its relatives.
  • A new introduction called 'Miss Manners', which forms clumps rather than running about, produces white flowers atop one metre (three foot) stems.
  • The cultivar 'Variegata' not only offers abundant lavender pink flowers but also has grey-green leaves, which are edged in milky white.

Growing obedient plant

  • Obedient plants will be grateful if you find a soggy spot when setting out young plants in late spring or early fall.
  • The site shouldn't be overly fertile, and there's no need for further feeding, as too much fertility leads to weak stems that fall over easily.
  • Obedient plant can tolerate dry soil, which can help to curtail its tendency to wander, but lack of water will also diminish its height and profusion of flowers.
  • To get this perennial off to a running start, tuck it into a roomy hole and backfill thoroughly, tamping the soil down to eliminate air pockets.
  • Water it well and spread a thin layer of grass clippings or straw as a mulch, just enough to keep weeds at bay and retain moisture around the roots.
  • Unless there is ample natural dampness, water every few days until the plants begin to produce new growth.
  • To enjoy more flowers on shorter plants, prune back the tallest, earliest stems in early summer. The pruned stems will form several branches all topped with blossoms.
  • Obedient plant is virtually pest- and disease-free, and needs to be divided only to control its growth or to increase plantings.
  • Dig and divide plants in the spring, cutting through rhizomes to separate plantlets from the parent.
  • Set plantlets at the same depth at which the parent plant grew, watering as needed to keep the soil moist until plantlets are established.
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