Although the name might imply this plant will behave and stay in one place in the garden, it is anything but tame when it comes to shape, appearance, and vigorous growth. In fact, it can be an invasive spreader. The “obedient” part of the name comes from the curious habit the blossoms have of being held on a swivel, allowing the individual flower to rotate around the center stem and remain in place no matter where you turn them. It’s a fun plant for kids to play with.
One of obedient plant's best features is its long bloom time, about a full month from late summer into fall. The blossoms are light shades of pink and white, a rarity among the hot, bold colors of fall. The flowers look good in a garden setting and also make good cut flowers. The lance-shape serrated leaves are typically a deep green color, but there is also a variegated selection with green leaves edged in cream that take on a purple coloring once nights begin to cool in the fall.
Obedient Plant Care Must-Knows
It is hard to find a situation where obedient plants won't grow. In the ideal setting, the plants prefer fertile, well-drained soil with consistent moisture. This encourages rapid growth and gives plants plenty of energy to rampage over more timid perennial neighbors. Overly rich soils prompt floppy growth, causing taller varieties to fall over and require staking. Try planting them in drier soil to slow them down a little; they can even tolerate heavy clay, too.
Obedient plant performs best in full sun, which produces fuller growth and helps prevent loss of lower leaves on the stems. Full sun is also best for flower production and provides the most amount of blossoms. While obedient plant tolerates part shade, it will be looser in habit and more prone to flopping.
Because obedient plant can become an invasive spreader, make sure to keep it in check; otherwise, you may risk losing nearby plants. This rambunctious perennial spreads primarily by underground runners. If spread is a concern, plant in a pot with the bottom removed and set it in the ground. This will help prevent the runners from escaping. Deadheading spent blossoms right away can also help prevent any potential spread from seedlings.