Phlox divaricata L.
Wild Blue Phlox, Louisiana Phlox, Blue Woodland Phlox, Sweet William, Wild Sweet William
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)
USDA Symbol: PHDI5
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: 8 to 18 inches
Flower: Flowers up to 1 inch across
Size Class: 0-1 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Normally blue, lavender, or white.
DistributionUSA: 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 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.
BenefitUse 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
Nectar Source: yes
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 inflorescences to encourage more flowering. Prevent complete soil dryness. Add compost to enrich the soil as needed.
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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
BibliographyBibref 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
Research LiteratureReslit 2746 - Pollinator importance and temporal variation in a population of Phlox divaricata L. (Polemoniaceae) (2005) S. Wiggam, C. J. Ferguson
Reslit 2747 - The eastern short-styled Phloxes (1931) E. T. Wherry
Reslit 2748 - Craspedolepta eas: Distribution, hosts, and habits of a Phlox specialist (Homoptera: Psylloidea: Aphalaridae) (1994) A. G. Wheeler
Reslit 2749 - Effects of experimental shifts in flowering phenology on plant-pollinator interactions. (2010) N. E. Rafferty, A. R. Ives
Reslit 2750 - Pollen exchange as a function of species proximity in Phlox (1972) D. A. Levin
Reslit 2751 - Variation in Phlox divaricata (1967) D. A. Levin
Reslit 2752 - Cercospora omphakodes infection and disease development in Phlox divaricata (1974) R. W. Judd, J. L. Peterson
Reslit 2753 - Premergence herbicides for transplanted herbaceous perennials." Proceedings, Northeastern Weed Science Society (1981) J. F. Ahrens
Reslit 2754 - Germination and emergence of understorey and tall canopy forbs used in naturalistic sowing mixes. A comparison of performance in vitro v the field (2007) H. Ahmad, J. D. Hitchmough
This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Phlox divaricata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Phlox divaricata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Phlox divaricata
MetadataRecord Modified: 2016-07-08
Research By: TWC Staff