Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Phlox divaricata

Wild blue phlox, Louisiana phlox, Blue woodland phlox, Sweet william, Wild sweet william

Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Phlox divaricata (Wild blue phlox)
Cressler, Alan
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.

Image Gallery:

17 photo(s) available

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 , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , MD , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , SC , SD , TN , TX , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC
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

Last Update: 2016-07-08