Cool Plant: March 18, 2010

Woodland Phlox
Phlox stolonifera

Species Native Range: Eastern U.S. amp; Canada
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4-8
Mature Size: 6-12 inches tall; spreading
Exposure: Partial to full shade
Soil: Rich, moist but well-drained
Drought Tolerance: Excellent
Ease of Culture: Easy

Woodland phlox is a native semi-evergreen ground cover for shade. The low-growing foliage is about 3-4 inches high and spreads fairly quickly to form nice clumps. In spring, 6-12 inch stalks of bluish-lavender, white or multi-colored, five-petaled flowers appear. The flowers attract a wide variety of butterflies.

Plant woodland phlox in rich organic soil that is moist but well-drained and in partial to full shade. Unlike many other species of phlox, this plant prefers some shade. In late winter, remove any mulch that may have covered the foliage. This will allow for better spring growth and blooming. Fertilize, if needed, with an organic slow-release fertilizer as new growth appears. Woodland phlox is easily transplanted to start clumps in new locations.

Woodland phlox is at home in any woodland or shade garden. Good companion plants include celandine poppy, foam flower, spring-blooming bulbs, trilliums, azaleas and other shade-loving plants.


I have seen this plant offered at several big box stores in 4-inch pots and 1-gallon containers as well as many retail nurseries.

For mail order, check out these sources:

Sunlight Gardens
Munchkin Nursery
Plant Delights Nursery

If you have comments or questions about this article or want to submit a suggestion for a future article, please email me.

Unless noted otherwise, Images & Drawings Copyrighted © 2010 by Theresa Schrum - All rights reserved