Why plant Audubon® Native Wild Blue Phlox?
It’s always a treat to come across a patch of Wild Blue Phlox while on a hike in the woods in spring. The mass of soothing, lavender-blue blossoms, combined with the jasmine-like scent makes you feel like all is right in the world. Why not add this sublime native Spirit to your own shady garden, and enjoy its charms every year? Your backyard butterflies will enjoy it, too. Wild Blue Phlox opens its pretty, notched flowers just as overwintering swallowtail butterflies are emerging from their chrysalises. Black, zebra, and tiger swallowtails may well get their very first sip of nectar from your patch of Phlox.
Wild Blue Phlox, also known as Wild Sweet William or Woodland Phlox, inhabits eastern forests and shady streamsides from South Dakota to Vermont (and into Canada) in the North to Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Florida in the South. Where its range overlaps with Flowering Dogwood, it blooms at the same time and paints a dreamy picture. It also plays well with other woodland wildflowers, creating lovely combinations on the forest floor. Unlike many other shade-loving wildflowers, Wild Blue Phlox does not go dormant in summer, but keeps much of its foliage even into winter, making it especially worthy in the landscape.
How to use Audubon® Native Wild Blue Phlox in the landscape?
Another interesting insect that Wild Blue Phlox may attract is the hummingbird moth. This curious creature (there are actually a few different species) looks like a tiny hummingbird, and unlike other moths, it visits flowers during the day. Hummingbird moths are most active in summer, but they emerge in the spring, and will visit Wild Blue Phlox flowers if they’re available.
Hardiness Zone: 3-8
How To Plant Audubon® Native Wild Blue Phlox
A woodsy site will make Wild Blue Phlox happiest. Plant it in fertile, moist, well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter. Afternoon shade is a must, and dappled shade all day is ideal. After blooming, the flowering stems will die back, but you may want to leave them so that plants will reseed and naturalize. You can also increase stocks by dividing the clumps in early spring. In hot climates, powdery mildew may occasionally strike. If this happens, simply shear off the affected foliage and new leaves will appear. Wild Blue Phlox is evergreen in mild winters and semi-evergreen in colder ones.
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water slowly and thoroughly. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late year. Continue this for three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
Each fall, just before winter sets in clean up the previous years foliage and compost it. Be sure your perennials are mulched well for winter protection. Two inches of an organic mulch will do the job. Consider leaving the plant debris in place through the winter and doing your clean up on the weather warms in the spring. While it doesn't make things neat and tidy, the debris provides overwintering protection for insects, their eggs and pupae including our native Viceroy butterfly.