Phlox Phever

phlox divaricata


“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.

You know how it is with an April day.

When the sun is out and the wind is still,

You’re one month on in the middle of May.

But if you so much as dare to speak,

a cloud come over the sunlit arch,

And wind comes off a frozen peak,

And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”

Robert Frost

I had thought by the end of April, I would have more native plants blooming, but this year has been one long, cold, snowy, wet year for the garden.  The garden is at least 2 weeks behind last year so the only thing blooming are the bulbs.  Lots and lots of beautiful blooms, but I am anxious to see my native plants.  Of course they know the score around here and they are reluctant to show their pretty little heads until it really warms up.  After all they are native you know.  So for this Wildflower Wednesday at Clay and Limestone, I thought I would profile a beautiful native that I love in my garden, phlox.   What self-respecting cottage gardener wouldn’t have oodles of phlox in all sizes and shapes…I really can’t get enough of phlox.  And it has added value because it is a native plant.

I love the wildflower phlox divaricata (pictured above).  A delicate small lilac colored flower arriving in late April, early May.  It enjoys a moist setting in part shade to shade which is great for my spring garden.


Next up is the creeping phlox.  The endless spray of flowers these plants produce is stunning.  I love how they continue to grow down a hill or along a border and fill in or spill over a wall.  The moss-like foliage is almost unseen because of the prolific flowers.  There are many colors to choose from.  I think I have them all.  If you are looking for a great native spring ground cover that is tolerant of many conditions, you can’t go wrong with creeping phlox, phlox subulata. Creeping phlox will tolerate some drought and salt if planted by a roadside, and will even grow in moist soils.  I have it growing all over the garden so I am greeted with a ground full of color all spring wherever I look.  An added bonus is that the foliage stays green all through the seasons, and it is easy to cut off bits and plant them into the garden where they root right in.


Lastly is the stunning phlox paniculata or summer phlox.  As you can see from the many pictures I love these phlox too.  They grow 3-4 feet high and have mounds of flowers.  They will create drifts of stunning blooms for 2-3 months if given the right conditions of sun and moist soil.  Oh and did I mention the scent.  Phlox gives off a lovely perfume as well.


These varieties are in my front very sunny garden interplanted with echinacea and lilies.  They love the sun and do all right in the drier conditions there.  But to establish them I had to make sure they were well watered the first year.  They do not take over, but fill right in to create a beautiful display of color.




I have phlox planted in the side and back gardens where there is sun and moist soil.  Some are in shadier conditions and do just great.  The one thing that you have to remember is phlox is prone to powdery mildew.  Here in central NY state we get wet, humid, hot summers so my phlox foliage sometimes will succumb to the mildew, but the flowers are not affected.  And if you plant the phlox in close with other plants it may get mildew faster due to the air not circulating as well.  I have never found powdery mildew to come back year after year if the conditions are not right.  I do cut the plants back in the fall and dispose of them to be safe though. There are many new cultivars that are resistant to powdery mildew so look for those.



Wildlife is also drawn to phlox.  Butterflies and hummingbirds will be found frequenting the phlox which is another reason I have it all over the gardens.  I stood in my white garden last year while 4 hummingbirds went from phlox to phlox (of course it was ‘David’ since it was a white garden).

In the Language of Flowers: Phlox means “united hearts” and is a flower associated with marriage.  No wonder it has been a popular flower for over a hundred years.  It was used in Victorian England in tussie-mussies, the small posies carried by ladies which are what many brides carry today.

It is also Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time this week…so go visit and see what is blooming all over the globe this Friday!!


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All content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.


  1. Donna says:

    Donna, phlox is in my garden too. Creeping and of course, ‘David’. I have them for the reasons you mentioned and l always look forward to the time they bloom. There are a number of colors and varieties from which to choose, making it easy to want them all.

  2. Holley says:

    It may seem silly, but I am just now learning about the charms of phlox. I have just a few in my garden, but more are definitely on my list! Lovely.

    • Donna says:

      Holley not silly at all…I love how you described them…charms of phlox…that is exactly what they are charming flowers…you can’t look at them and not be happy…

  3. Jess says:

    Phlox are one of my favorites too, and one of the few plants that aren’t really a good fit for my climate that I grow anyhow, because I refuse not too! I have several of the mildew resistant varieties of paniculata which do very well and live up to their names. I also grow divaricata, because I love the look of it in the shade, and it gets mildew so bad by early summer that they die back to the ground. It comes back strong though!

    • Donna says:

      Jess I love to hear when people push the envelope and grow what they love…your phlox responds in kind…how wonderful…

  4. Gail says:

    Donna, I love phlox~It’s just a perfect garden plant~an all American beauty. The Frost poem is one of my favorites~It seems to describe to a T what i’ve been reading about NE springs! So glad to have you participating in WW!gail

    • Donna says:

      I love this meme Gail and wish I could have posted all week but the wildflowers were not cooperating..they actually are catching up though with 2 days of weather in the 80s suddenly…so I may have pictures of many blooming by Monday….the Frost poem is actually so accurate it is scary..he is my favorite poet 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Christine you are so funny…I am so glad you are finding some wonderful flowers for your garden through my posts… 🙂

  5. Cynthia says:

    I grow summer phlox, but don’t have them situated perfectly. They are stunning when happy! Right now they are 4 inches tall and severely drooping, suffering from heat and drought – already.

    • Donna says:

      My creeping phlox looks like it might flower this weekend with all the warm weather we have had the last few days…it’s a welcome change

  6. Lona says:

    One of my favorite summer flowers. You have so many of them. I have them stuck everywhere in my garden beds also. They smell so good. The variegated leaved ones are beautiful too.

    • Donna says:

      I think they are one of the best perennials…so much going for them…I love poking them in between other flowers too…I am also looking for a variegated leaved one…

  7. Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens says:

    Phlox are some of my favorite plants. In my experience only garden phlox gets mildew, and wild sweet William (P. divaricata) has the most heavenly scent. Your post reminded me to run up to the nursery and put all the wild sweet William pots in the garage so their flowers wouldn’t get knocked over in the huge storm we are supposed to have tonight–thanks.

    • Donna says:

      Glad I could help…I know in some warmer climates the wild phlox will get the mildew but not in colder climates and definitely garden phlox unless you have a mildew reistent variety..although some of mine still get it

  8. Jean says:

    Donna, I love phlox, too. I have the native moss phlox (P. subulata) growing in both my gardens; and in Maine I also have a couple of different cultivars of P. paniculata (including David). I haven’t tried P. divarcata, but your photos are very enticing.

  9. Rose says:

    What a great tribute to phlox! I am adding more to a new flowerbed this spring and planned to mix them with lilies and echinacea–how nice to see this combination in “living color” in your garden.

    The Frost poem is so true–April can be so unpredictable here in the Midwest, too!

    • Donna says:

      Rose how nice to have you visit…and how funny that your plant combo with phlox is just like one of mine…as you can see it works great…when I lived in N. Indiana I remember some crazy Aprils…hope you enjoyed your visit…

  10. tina says:

    You showcased the phlox perfectly. It is one versatile plant and I love that sunny bed in your garden. Your phlox looks happy. It is funny I’m hearing how late spring is in the NE but here in my southern midwest area spring is at least two weeks early. Very weird. Hopefully you guys will warm up and dry out soon.

    • Donna says:

      Glad you liked the post Tina…we warmed up to the 80s for a coupe of days but now we have severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail etc, etc…and lots and lots of rain…we definitely need to dry out or I am afraid I will lose some plants that are not too happy with all this water…

  11. Sheila Read says:

    Donna, I love phlox, too. I only wish I could grow more – not enough sun inside the deer fence, and deer LOVE phlox. Phlox divaricata does best for me in the woodland garden because it blooms before the trees are fully leafed out. The white phlox “David” is a beauty and seems to tolerate partial shade.

    • Donna says:

      My phlox David is in part shade as well…yes I do have to do a bit of deterring from the deer…my deer seem to focus on other pkants more but they will go for the phlox if they are hungry..

    • Donna says:

      So true but I actually have less issue with bunnies and more with deer…go figure…can’t wait for the creeping phlox to bloom…any day now…

  12. Cat says:

    I just bought two today! And my friend gifted me with one from her garden…I’ve never had enough sun until recently; added some new beds!

    • Donna says:

      Cat, you will just love phlox…mine are happiest if not in too much of a drought condition or if they have a little shade…how wonderful to be gifted this beautiful flower!

  13. Racquel says:

    We both devoted our Wildflower posts to one of my favorite perennials! I have the paniculata, creeping and now the native pilosa. 🙂

  14. Tootsie says:

    I had no idea that plox meant that! what a nice little tid bit!
    your flower photos this week and every week are just gorgeous. I love how each flower is so delicate and unique…your flaunt was wonderful!
    thanks for linking in!

    • Donna says:

      I am so glad you enjoyed the flaunt and pictures…I do enjoy linking in and will as time permits…thx for continuing to host this wonderful meme.

  15. Liane says:

    Ahhh….I love phlox! I am working on some garden redesign this year, especially since the huge, old swingset from my backyard was sold. I may need to hire you!!

    • Donna says:

      Love to help you…phlox just brings a smile to your face…we may need to incorporate more into the new garden 🙂

  16. Alistair says:

    We love the Summer Phlox Donna. I tried the subulata candy stripe for this Spring. It was looking very healthy then one morning all of the flower buds which were ready to open disappeared, actually looked liked they had been eaten by mice as the foliage is completely unscathed. The Phlox paniculata Franz Schubert we are particularly fond of, fragrant lilac blooms and completely resistant to the powdery mildew. I have just been preparing a post highlighting it. Hope you are well.

    • Donna says:

      Can’t wait to see the post on phlox…they are definitely favored by rabbit and deer too…I am OK. Very busy and not much time to even read blogs. Just finishing today’s post. So much gardening and so little time. Hope you are well too…

  17. julie says:

    I’m pretty sure that it is phlox that I have. I honestly
    started with 2 ‘sticks’ of it, and it has taken over my whole bed, about 10 x 12′. It’s crowded out everything
    else. It doesn’t bloom until fall. The color is purple.
    Is this what I probably have??? How does one control
    it? It is not a bush, just keeps making new ones.
    Any advise? thanks

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