Botanical Name: Phlox divaricata
Common Name: Woodland Phlox, Wild Blue Phlox
Description: Woodland Phlox is a delicate perennial wildflower that blooms from spring into early summer. It occurs naturally in slope forests, bluffs, and calcareous hammocks. It is found to grow in only four Panhandle counties in Florida, but is widespread throughout the United States. Many pollinators are attracted to the blooms, especially butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Only butterflies and long-tongued bees can reach the nectar but other insects are attracted to the flowers and may feed on the pollen. Butterflies are the most effective pollinators. Its roots are eaten by rabbits and other small mammals. Likes to grow in moist but well drained, acidic soil, in part sun to part shade. Too much sun and it will burn. Too much shade and it will not bloom. This is a low-growing perennial, 12-18 inches tall, so it would be perfect for borders or the front of flower beds. Also grows well in containers. It is not drought tolerant, but it does not like to be in overly wet soil. Phlox is self-incompatible and cross-pollination is required.
It likes to grow in humus (organic, upland), loam, lime rock, or sandy soils. Is adaptable to soil pH levels.
Borne in loose clusters, its fragrant flowers have five notched petals that are fused at the base. They are relatively large and range in color from bluish-purple to pale lavender to occasionally pinkish-white. Leaves are elliptic to linear, pubescent and oppositely arranged. Seeds grow in a capsule that, when ripe, turns gold and bursts, dispersing the seeds away from the parent plant.
Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray.
This plant in 1-gallon containers is 5-15″ tall.
Plant Lore: The genus Phlox comes from the Greek phlóges, meaning “flame.”
Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9