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Plant Profile: Carolina Phlox (Phlox carolina)

Also known as thick-leaf phlox, this herbaceous perennial is native to southeastern US from North Carolina and Kentucky, south to Florida and Mississippi where it grows in woodland edges and openings.  It is a member of the Polemoniaceae that also includes Jacob’s ladder.  Plants grow 24-30″ tall and have  slender stems that are  sometimes  streaked with red and carry 5-12 pairs of bright green leaves that are oval to lance-shaped and 1.5 to 4″ long.  From summer to fall loose cylindrical terminal clusters of white to pink or lavender flowers appear.  The flowers are .5 to .75″ and have 4-5 petals. Carolina phlox is a handsome garden plant and attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. It is one of the parents of several cultivars of phlox.  The genus name, Phlox, is the Greek word meaning a flame and is sometimes applied to plants with flame colored flowers.  The specific epithet, carolina, refers to the natural habitat of the plant.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Clusters of white to pink or lavender 4-5 petaled flowers in summer

Size: 24-30″ H x 18″ W

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Fertile, consistently moist, well-drained, acidic

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Care: Remove any plants that develop powdery mildew.

Pests and Diseases: Powdery mildew (but more resistant than some other phlox),  leaf spot and leaf blight

Propagation: Seed, division, cuttings

Companion Plants: Daylilies, bee balm, balloonflower