|Monday Melange: Wild Blue Phlox|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Monday, 09 April 2012|
The beautiful wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata) is a wildflower native to the eastern half of North America, its range extending from Quebec south to Florida and across to Texas and South Dakota. Also known as woodland phlox as well as wild sweet William, it’s a member of the Phlox plant family (Polemoniaceae) and is hardy between USDA zones 3 and 8. Wild blue phlox is listed as endangered in New Jersey.
The large 1 to 1.5-inch diameter blue to lilac-purple to rosy-blue colored flowers of the wild blue phlox that can be spotted blooming along country roads from April to June each year. The tubular-shaped five-petaled flowers are quite showy, as well as fragrant, and attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Preferring moist, rich woodland soils and dappled shade, these herbaceous perennials grow to a height of about 10 to 20 inches. Wild blue phlox naturalizes quite readily forming large colonies via creeping stems and is ideal as a groundcover under shade trees or in a woodland garden. They also look nice in perennial borders and phlox is a staple in rock and alpine gardens.
Wild blue phlox can be plagued by powdery mildew, which can be remedied by cutting back the foliage after the flowers have finished blooming. Some of the more popular cultivars may be more resistant including ‘Chattahoochee’, ‘Blue Moon’, and 'London Grove Blue'. You should probably avoid planting wild blue phlox if you have a plethora of rabbits in your garden, as they are quite fond of nibbling on the plants.
Photo source: Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide