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Plant Profile: Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata)

Envision a gently flowing brook under trees newly leafed out in spring with a mass of fragrant blue flowers blowing in the breeze underneath. Those blue flowers could be Wild Blue Phlox and they are lovely! The flowers are borne in loose clusters above semi evergreen foliage and are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. The rhizomes have roots at the nodes so the plants to naturalize easily forming large colonies. Wild Blue Phlox, also known as Wild Sweet William and Woodland Phlox, is native to much of the eastern U.S. in moist woodland, fields and along streams. It can be used in the borders of woodland gardens, as a ground cover, in rock gardens or massed under a tree providing high shade. Although it prefers a shady spot it can grow in a sunny area with sufficient moisture but may go dormant in times of drought.

Type: Herbaceous perennial.

Bloom: 1-1 ½” wide blue, lavender, or white flowers in spring.

Size: 12-20” H x to 3’ W forming large colonies.

Light: Part to full shade.

Soil: Humus rich, moist but well drained soil; tolerates some dryness but will go dormant.

Hardiness: Zones 3-8.

Care: Low maintenance.

Pests and Diseases: Powdery mildew can be a serious problem; susceptible to spider mites, stem canker, rust, Southern blight, stem nematodes, Cercospora and Septoria leaf spots, leaf miners, and caterpillars; attractive to rabbits.

Propagation: Self seeds; division of clumps.

Companion plants: Other woodland species such as columbine, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Wild Ginger, Virginia bluebells, Trillium, Shooting Star, Bloodroot, Dutchman’s Breeches, Cohosh, and ferns.

Outstanding Selections: ‘Fuller’s White’ (white; to 10” H)
‘Blue Moon’ (rich blue violet; overlapping petals).

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