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          Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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          Phlox divaricata (Wild blue phlox)
          Cressler, Alan

          Phlox divaricata

          Phlox divaricata L.

          Wild Blue Phlox, Louisiana Phlox, Blue Woodland Phlox, Sweet William, Wild Sweet William

          Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)


          USDA Symbol: PHDI5

          USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

          The decumbent stem of wild blue phlox roots at the nodes sending up erect branches 8-18 in. Loose, flat clusters of fragrant, lavender or pink flowers with notched petals occur at the top of these stems. The leaves on decumbent stems are broader than those on flowering stems. A loose cluster of slightly fragrant, light blue flowers tops a somewhat sticky stem that produces leafy, creeping shoots at the base.

          This beautiful species is most common in midwestern woods and fields. It is sometimes known as Wild Sweet William, a name also given to P. maculata. The mature plants in the eastern part of the range have notched petals; those in the western do not. The basal runners of the lovely Creeping Phlox (P. stolonifera) form large patches; it has fewer stem leaves and fewer flowers in its clusters; it occurs from Pennsylvania and Ohio south to northern Georgia.


          From the Image Gallery

          24 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

          Plant Characteristics

          Duration: Perennial
          Habit: Herb
          Leaf Retention: Evergreen
          Size Notes: 8 to 18 inches
          Leaf: Green
          Flower: Flowers up to 1 inch across
          Size Class: 0-1 ft.

          Bloom Information

          Bloom Color: White , Red , Pink , Purple
          Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
          Bloom Notes: Normally blue, lavender, or white.


          USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
          Canada: ON , QC
          Native Distribution: S.w. Que. to MI, s. to NC & AL
          Native Habitat: Moist, rich, deciduous woods and bluffs

          Growing Conditions

          Water Use: Medium
          Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
          Soil Moisture: Moist
          Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2) , Acidic (pH<6.8)
          CaCO3 Tolerance: High
          Soil Description: Rich, moist, acid soils, but also found in calcareous areas. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay.


          Use Ornamental: Showy, attractive, colorful blooms for the perennial garden.
          Use Wildlife: Flowers attract butterflies, including swallowtails, gray hairstreaks, and western pygmy blues. Roots consumed by rabbits and voles.
          Conspicuous Flowers: yes
          Attracts: Butterflies
          Nectar Source: yes


          Propagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
          Description: Propagate by root division, seed, layering, or softwood cuttings (rooted stem) taken in late spring.
          Seed Collection: Mature in late spring.
          Seed Treatment: Cold-moist stratification.
          Commercially Avail: yes
          Maintenance: Remove spent inflorescences to encourage more flowering. Prevent complete soil dryness. Add compost to enrich the soil as needed.

          Mr. Smarty Plants says

          Ground cover for trails in Northeast Texas
          January 09, 2008
          I have several acres of wooded land in Northeast Texas, Southern Lamar County. Both sandy and black land. I have created trails through the woods and would like to plant a native ground cover or gras...
          view the full question and answer

          Michigan native plants for shady, low traffic area
          May 10, 2006
          Hello, I am looking for a recommendation for a Michigan native groundcover. I live adjacent to the Rouge River watershed and want to buy the right thing. The location is shady, infrequently walked ...
          view the full question and answer

          National Wetland Indicator Status

          Status: FACU FACU FACU FACU FACU
          This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

          From the National Organizations Directory

          According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

          Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
          Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
          Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


          Bibref 766 - Dale Groom's Texas Gardening Guide (2002) Groom, D.
          Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
          Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
          Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
          Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
          Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

          Search More Titles in Bibliography

          Additional resources

          USDA: Find Phlox divaricata in USDA Plants
          FNA: Find Phlox divaricata in the Flora of North America (if available)
          Google: Search Google for Phlox divaricata


          Record Modified: 2016-07-08
          Research By: TWC Staff

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