Of obedient plants (Physostegia virginiana), Marie Iannotti observes that they derive their name "from the ability of the individual flowers to be bent and remain in position." That makes sense; it's certainly not because they're well-behaved in a planting bed! In fact, one of the problems with growing obedient plants is that they tend to spread out of control. But, notes About's Gardening Guide, "Newer varieties, like 'Miss Manners', are being bred to remain in well-behaved clumps." Obedient or not-so-obedient, there's one virtue you have to grant these plants: their late blooming period (late summer to fall) helps us extend the time during which we can enjoy floral color in our yards.