Downy Phlox, Phlox pilosa

Downy Phlox

Phlox pilosa

Benefits:
Sun Shade:
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Zones: 1, 2, 3
Soil Conditions: Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Medium, Dry, Moist
Color: Pink
Fragrance: No
Height: 1 - 2 feet
Spacing: 1 foot


Description

Downy Phlox, Phlox pilosa, also known as Prairie Phlox, is typically found in rocky or dry open woods, valleys, thickets, meadows, prairies and glades. This is an upright perennial that grows in a clump to 12-16 inches tall on stiff stems clad with opposite, widely-spaced, sharp pointed, linear to linear-lanceolate, stalkless, deep green leaves with prominent central veins. Leaves are often finely pubescent. Fragrant, tubular, pink to pale purple flowers are loosely packed in rounded terminal clusters (cymes). Flowers bloom from May to July with a possible sparse rebloom in fall. Each individual flower has a long corolla tube and five flat petal-like lobes which lack notches.

Stems, leaves and corolla tubes are often covered with soft white hairs, hence the specific epithet of pilosa means soft hairy and the sometimes used common name of Downy Phlox. This plant has a taproot, and it occasionally tillers at the base, sending up multiple stems from the same root system. The small seeds are distributed by the wind to some extent.

Habitats include moist to mesic black soil prairies, rocky open forests, Bur Oak savannas, sandy Black Oak savannas, limestone glades, thickets, abandoned fields, and prairie remnants along railroads. Downy Phlox appears to benefit from the removal of excess debris by wildfires occurring during early spring or the fall.

Grow in fertile, moderately dry to moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. More tolerant of drier soils than most other species of phlox.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Appreciates a summer mulch which helps keep the root zone cool.
  Spreads by rhizomes to form clumps.
  Easily grown from seed.
Further Information

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 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
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 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries