The obedient plant or false dragonhead is a very fun plant that has some very unique qualities. First of all, the obedient plant’s common name comes from the flowers’ unique pliable nature. The flower heads can be pushed along the axis of the stem and will remain wherever they are moved. This makes the plant very useful for cut flowers or flower arrangements. This plant is a rhizomatous perennial that is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae. A common characteristic of this family is a square stem. The flowers a pale lilac with a tubular shape and snapdragon appearance that grow on terminal spikes. The flower spikes bloom from the bottom to top from late June to September. P. virginiana has sharply toothed, lanceolate leaves arranged in an opposite manner. The square stems can reach up to 4 feet but may fall over if the soils are too rich or it is not receiving enough sun. Beware this plant can spread rather aggressively either by seed or rhizomatously with stolons. To prevent this a gardener can pull up the undesired shallow roots to keep the plant tamed.
Obedient plant lives in a wide variety of habitats from open meadows to stream banks. It is native to much of North America from Quebec to Florida and even west to New Mexico. This plant is great because it can tolerate moist soils with poor drainage or soils on the drier end of the spectrum. The nectar of this plant is desirable to many species of butterflies and even attracts hummingbirds. Overall this is an excellent plant and can really give a show in the late summer, early fall especially if used in a rain garden.
Carolina Jessamine is a 10 to 20-foot-long, twining evergreen vine native to the southeastern United States. As it is a southern species, in southeastern Pennsylvania it is best to use the cold-hardy variety called ‘Margarita’ and plant it in a location where it will be protected from harsh winter winds.
Gelsemium is among the first plants to bloom every year – a welcome sign that winter is over and the long-awaited spectacle of spring is about to begin. The bright yellow, trumpet shaped flowers are very attractive and their sweet, candy-like fragrance can be enjoyed from a distance, though you should never pass up an opportunity to get a close-up sniff.
This vine will grow best, and will flower most profusely in moist, well-drained soils and full, bright sun. It is highly deer resistant and looks wonderful grown on a trellis, arbor, pergola, fence or wall and even makes a good porch cover. If desired, prune immediately after flowering to control its height.
Black Chokeberry is an underused deciduous native shrub, but one that is gaining in popularity for a number of reasons. Growing from about 2’ to about 6’ in height, depending on cultivar, it is a very tough plant able to grow in a wide range of garden conditions. It tolerates pollution, salt, drought, insects, diseases, sun, shade, and even deer.
In addition to being tough, it is also quite attractive with all-season interest. In spring, clusters of showy white flowers cover the shrub; in late summer, the flowers make way for clusters of glossy black fruits that dangle from the branches at around the time the leaves have begun transitioning for a fine fall show of red and burgundy; and in winter, after the leaves have fallen, the fruits persist and attract a variety of overwintering songbirds. These blueberry-sized fruits are also edible for humans and though they are very tart and astringent when raw, they have been processed into a variety of anti-oxidant rich drinks and dietary supplements all around the world.
Black Chokeberry grows with an open, rounded habit with glossy, bright green leaves covering only the top 2/3 of the plant. Knowing this, it is suggested to plant it in masses and in combination with other plants that will fill in the voids near the base of the plants.
The common rose mallow or swamp mallow is an upright shrub-like herbaceous perennial that is commonly found in moist areas such as marshes or lake shores. H. moscheutos is a member of the Mallow family, Malvaceae. This plant is unique because you can bring those showy tropical looking hibiscus flowers to the garden. The flowers are typically a large, beautiful, funnel shape with five separate petals. Interestingly the stamens and stigma are fused into one structure called a column. Petals are normally white, pink or red with or some variation in between. H. moscheutos flowers are normally darker towards the middle and can become quite large and showy reaching anywhere from 8 to 10 inches. Though an individual flower may only last a short period of time, the plant itself continues to bloom through late summer into fall. The rose mallow can bring quite the accent to any garden and it is recommended to plant a group of 3 or more for a visually appealing effect.
This plant is native to the eastern and southern parts of North America and can be grown in hardiness zones 5-10. The rose mallow can grow rather tall, reaching anywhere from 5 to 7 feet in a single growing season. Since it is capable of growing so much it may need to be staked for support. The optimal growth conditions for H. moscheutos are full sun and moist soils rich in organic matter but, it can tolerate lower quality soils even those containing salt. It will grow very well in these conditions as long as the soil is not allowed to dry out. If this plant is being grown in colder regions, one should consider mulch during the winter to protect the roots from frost. Also it is recommended to prune in the early spring for a bushier growth form. Japanese beetles have been known to cause damage to the foliage of this plant if left unmanaged.
This beautiful clump forming, herbaceous perennial has many noteworthy characteristics making it an excellent choice as a green ribbon native plant. It is a member of the Dogbane plant family or Apocynaceae. One trait expressed by members of this family is a milky/latex sap. Due to this, A. hubrichtii is not preferred by deer. It is known for its elegant powdery blue star shaped flowers which grow in clusters at the ends of the stems. These delicate flowers make an appearance in late spring around April and last until the end of May sometimes even longer. The foliage is another notable characteristic. These thin, filamentous leaves grow along the stem in an alternate fashion. They are a beautiful green during the growing season and turn to a stunning yellow during the fall. This foliage can bring nice texture and color to any garden.
Native to south-central United States Amsonia hubrichtii can grow to about 3 feet tall and spreads 2-3 feet at maturity. This plant is ideal for many different garden situations and is very low maintenance. It performs best in well drained, rich soil but can tolerate a wide range of conditions. A. hubrichtii produces the best fall color in full sun however blooms may persist longer if given some afternoon shade. It is also notable that Amsonia is the preferred nectar source for Mourning Cloaks and other early butterflies. Sometimes the plant may grow too tall and flop over. In order to prevent this, it is recommended that you cut back the stems about a 1/3 after its done blooming.