Phlox pilosa L.
Downy Phlox, Prairie Phlox, Fragrant Phlox
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)
USDA Symbol: phpi
A mounded perennial, Downy Phlox grows 1-2 ft. tall and bears clusters of fragrant, pale pink to lavender flowers. The petals of the showy flowers are joined at their bases into an elongate tube. Stems and narrow, paired leaves are covered with soft hairs.
There are nine subspecies of this phlox, each occupying a different portion of the range.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , WI , WV
Native Distribution: Connecticut south to Florida, west to eastern North Dakota, south through the eastern part of the prairie states to most of Oklahoma and Texas as far as west Texas, south into Coahuila
Native Habitat: Dry, open woods; sand hills; prairies; roadsides, Post Oak Woods, pinelands, and thickets in eastern half of Texas, grasslands and rocky slopes on Edwards Plateau and West Texas.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Sandy or rocky, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: A mounded perennial, downy phlox bears clusters of fragrant, pale pink to lavender flowers. The petals of the showy flowers are joined at their bases into an elongate tube. Stems and narrow, paired leaves are covered with soft hairs.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Prairie phlox attracts long-tongued bees, butterflies and skippers.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: No
PropagationDescription: Propagation is possible by stem cuttings in late spring, root cuttings taken in fall after leaves have reappeared, or by seed. Seed is unpredictable.
Seed Collection: Fruits open abruptly, so save the seed by tying a mesh bag around the developing fruits.
Seed Treatment: Germination is enhanced by cold stratification – one week at 30 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Austin Shade Plants for Pots
March 28, 2010
I live in a condo in Austin Texas so I don't have any flower beds or yard space. I would like to put a few large pots of plants and flowers on my front patio but it's mostly shaded during the day. W...
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Native flowers for Door County, Wisconsin
September 02, 2009
We recently were required to put in a new septic system on our vacation property in Door County, WI. This left us with a clearing on our wooded lot where the septic field is now located. The installer...
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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:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
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
Web ReferenceWebref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1991 VOL. 8, NO.2 - Wildflower Outlook, Photography Seminars Offered, Ten Favorite Wildflower Areas,...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Phlox pilosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Phlox pilosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Phlox pilosa
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-23
Research By: TWC Staff