WiseAcre Gardens

north of the adirondacks – wildflowers & perennials that survive winters colder than my wife's feet

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Posted by WiseAcre on Feb 6th, 2008

Phlox stolonifera

Feb 6

Phlox stolonifera I found this Phlox at my favorite perennial nursery. It might have easily been overlooked but it was in bloom. Drawn to the wonderfull color I pulled out a plant marker and saw the magic words – “zone 3”.  That’s all I needed to see and I loaded 50 of these little beauties in my truck. I had to have them and I’d worry about where to put them later. The excitment of a new discovery outweighed any logical consideration of their requirments and if they would actually take to my garden.  The plant tag only gave light conditions – sun to part shade. One way or another I was going to find a spot for them.

This will be the third spring in my garden. I found a spot that gets morning sun in well drained soil with a neutral pH. (I’m blessed with some of the country’s best soil – Madrid Sandy Loam)

Phlox stolonifera

Phlox stolonifera with Bloodroot, Vinca, Columbine and Hosta.

I’ve found that this is a shallow rooted plant. Keeping it out of the hot afternoon sun keeps the soil from getting too dry. While it has tolerated some dryness I haven’t taken a chance to see just how dry it can get. During the summer I water the area a little if we haven’t had rain.

I also have tried to grow this on Long Island in soil best described as gravelly clay that too often stays wet. That was not a good idea but I had to try. It did grow but it’s having a hard time holding on. Maybe the soil is too acid or too tight to really develop a good root base. Whatever the reason this Phlox doesn’t seem to like a clay based soil.

This year I’m going to be transplanting the hosta in order to give this Phlox some more room to roam. After all, digging up, dividing and transplanting is half the fun of gardening for me. The other half is expanding the garden and hoping things fall into place like the photo above.

Closeup of Phlox stolonifera

4 Responses

  1. Mr. McGregor's Daughter Says:

    Lovely little plant! Is it fragrant? I’ve never grown P. stolonifera, only P. divaricata. I’ve a feeling that P. stolonifera wouldn’t like my extremely well-drained soil that drys to hard-cracked clay.

    I should stop to smell the flowers. The early bloom and color hooked me. Besides it’s getting pretty hard to get my nose that close to the ground. I have a fit if anyone but the grand daughters pick my flowers (including me).

    I wouldn’t try again to plant where the ground drys to brick. I did once but the plants just withered away before I had a chance to move them.

  2. Mark Says:

    Hi Wise acre,
    What a cracking backdrop to those plants, which I might add are looking really lush and healty.Its good to see a hosta not full of holes after the slugs have attacked it.
    I like you are bit of a sucker for blue plants and carn’t wait to see the bluebells once again.

    Cheers Mark

    Slugs are not that much of a problem since we have the same taste in beer. It’s the deer that give me problems.
    Blue flowers are a real challenge. “Blue” is properly translated to purple when looking at a catalog or plant tags at a nursery.

  3. jodi Says:

    This phlox flowers for weeks on end for us (the fog keeps things lasting long, when they don’t turn to mush, that is. I have several cultivars, and love it, and the fragrance is pretty awesome.
    I also never met a blue flower I didn’t love. If goutweed (you probably call it bishops weed, Aegopodium) had blue flowers I’d never growl about it, ever.

    I guess I’ll have to lay down and try sniffing the phlox. I’ll never post Aegopodium or bishops weed on my site. It’s far too aggressive in a perennial gardens and hard to get rid of when it does run amuck. It might make a nice groundcover somewhere but I prefer other plants. I do have some way back in a “wild” place. It’s actually taking over an area with Quackgrass and it’s all from a bit of “sod” I dumped out back.

  4. kathryn Says:

    How long does this plant bloonm? I’m in zone 7.thanks