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Vick, Albert F. W.
Phlox divaricata L.
Wild blue phlox, Louisiana phlox, Blue woodland phlox, Sweet william, Wild sweet william
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Retention: Evergreen Size Notes:
8 to 18 inches Leaf:
Flowers up to 1 inch across
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Normally blue, lavender, or white.
, WV Canada: ON
, QC Native Distribution:
S.w. Que. to MI,
s. to NC
& AL Native Habitat:
Moist, rich, deciduous
woods and bluffs
Growing ConditionsWater 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.
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:
Butterflies Nectar Source:
PropagationPropagation 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 blossoms, Prevent complete soil dryness, Fertilize in spring with rose food if soil isnt rich enough.
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...
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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 ...
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National Wetland Indicator Status
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.
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-09
Research By: TWC Staff