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False Dragonhead (Ledingham's False Dragonhead)

Physostegia ledinghamii

Family:

Mint family - Lamiaceae

These nectar-rich bell-shaped flowers form a good hiding place for small insects and are a popular resting spot.

Woodland garden

Woodland garden

Wetland garden

Wetland garden

Rain garden

Rain garden

Pollinator garden

Pollinator garden

Flood tolerant

Flood tolerant

Details

Emerges 

April

Seed collection

Flowers

July, August

pink flowers

Pink

purple flowers

Purple

September

Lifecycle

Perennial

Lifespan

Height

30

-

100

cm

Width

-

cm

Habit

Forbs

Upright

Upright

Rhizomatous

Rhizomatous

Spreading

Spreading

Herbaceous

Herbaceous

Ecology

Supports

Supports bees

Bees

Providing

Provides nectar source

Nectar source

False dragonhead forms a great nectar source for native bees and other pollinating insects. Peak inside the bell-shaped flowers for a glimpse of the rich community these plants help support. 



Habitat

Typically found in

slopes / banks, wetlands, meadows, woodland

Shady or sunny areas with consistent water supply, including ditches, stream banks, wetlands, wet meadows and woodlands.

In the Garden

Growing Conditions

Moisture

Moist conditions

Moist

Wet conditions

Wet

Light

Full sun

Full sun

Partial sun

Part sun

Partial shade

Part shade

Soil

Average garden soil, Loam

Propagation

Via

Seeds

Seeds

Division

Division

Sowing Recommendations

Sow seeds in Fall

Fall planting

Scarify seeds

Scarify seeds

Low or difficult germination

Landscape

Use for:

Middle of bed placement

Middle of bed

Accent plant

Accent plant

Growing Tips

  • False dragonhead really relies on consistent moisture and does well in rich, fertile soil. Planting in a low, damp spot in the garden with some extra compost is best (for example, a swale).

  • It will spread by rhizomes, but is easily controlled by installing edging buried at least 15 cm deep around the perimeter of the area you want to restrict it to.

  • Suggested spacing when planting is 30 cm.

  • It can be challenging to grow from seed, which must be scarified first: Nick seed coat or rub gently with coarse sandpaper, then cold stratify. Dividing established clumps of plants is an easier method of propagation.

Description

False dragonhead is a member of the mint family and related to (though distinct from) commercial cultivars of Physostegia virginiana, a popular garden flower known as the obediant plant. It is an attractive, bushy plant with spikes of pinkish-purple flowers and bright green leaves that will spread by rhizomes into a large clump. Leaves form a small basal rosette before flower stocks develop. When the large, dark seeds (nutlets) are mature, they're held loosely within the cup-like calyx and easily tapped out. 

False dragonhead is a good option for a wet area, such as a rain garden or a low spot, whether in sun or light shade. 

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