Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Award Goes To Phlox pilosa, the Perfect Spring Plant






I wish you could be here now, I just stepped outside and the Phlox pilosa is heavenly...just the slightest sweet scent on the breeze and pink everywhere. You are probably saying to yourself...when is she going to stop talking about that Phlox pilosa! Well, maybe not you, but my local gardening friends and family are...But, I'm not going to stop telling folks about this practically perfect pink plant, at least not in the foreseeable future...

You see, this is just about the most perfect spring plant that MOST of us can have in our gardens. Yes, most of us...from Texas to New York including some of the prairie states and into Canada. Zones 3 to 8 and down into Florida!*** It may be too dry way out west, but, why not give it a try!


It has romped about the yard with abandon, spreading by seed and underground runners. Now don't get too worried, it isn't a thug! Yes, it spreads, but I am not misleading you...it won't be a bother. This one really is a sweetie pie. It's shallow rooted and transplants easily. In fact, I moved some last month and it is happily blooming.

It has the sweetest fragrance. Now tell me the truth, isn't that the best pink? BUT, it's not just another pretty face. It's a hard working native. This is from Illinois Wildflower....The nectar of the flowers attracts primarily long-tongued bees, butterflies, and skippers. Other visitors include moths and bee flies*. Bee visitors are bumblebees, Anthophorine bees, Miner bees, and Nomadine Cuckoo bees. Butterfly and skipper visitors include the American Painted Lady, Sulfurs, Swallowtails, and Cloudywings. The caterpillars of the moth Heliothis phloxiphagus (Spotted Straw) eat the flowers, while the caterpillars of the moth Olive Arches eat the leaves. Mammalian herbivores readily consume Prairie Phlox, including rabbits, deer, groundhogs, and livestock. It may be difficult to establish this plant where there is an overpopulation of these animals.**

If you have deer and rabbits this might be another dish at the smorgasbord! But so far only bees and butterflies have been in my yard.

I love standing on the patio and looking out into the back yard and watching this practically perfect pink plant....you will too.

Gail


* [Speaking of Bee Flies, David Perry has a lovely post with a brilliant photograph of a Bee Fly. (David Perry Photography).]
**(Illinois Widflower)
*** USDatabase

14 comments:

  1. Hey Gail,

    OK, you've got me interested enough to do a bit more exploring. Thank you. It looks just wonderful!

    I've really been enjoying your most recent posts and really think you deserve to give yourself more credit in the photography department. If you capture our imaginations and make us want to be there too, you have done what every photographer strives for.

    And on that little problem of the camera focusing in the wrong place, try to find your manual and figure out how to manually focus. Most will have this feature, if you look just a bit. I end up using it all the time with my point and shoots, cuz like yours, they get confused when left to their own devices sometimes. You'd be amazed how much you can improve on an image sometimes if you take charge of the focus. Try it and let us know.

    Keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Gail,

    OK, you've got me interested enough to do a bit more exploring. Thank you. It looks just wonderful!

    I've really been enjoying your most recent posts and really think you deserve to give yourself more credit in the photography department. If you capture our imaginations and make us want to be there too, you have done what every photographer strives for.

    And on that little problem of the camera focusing in the wrong place, try to find your manual and figure out how to manually focus. Most will have this feature, if you look just a bit. I end up using it all the time with my point and shoots, cuz like yours, they get confused when left to their own devices sometimes. You'd be amazed how much you can improve on an image sometimes if you take charge of the focus. Try it and let us know.

    Keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  3. David,

    Read the manual! I have to find it first!

    Thank you for your MOST kind words! Glad to know it captured your interest, feedback is always appreciated, well, the positive kind! Your site has been a joy to visit and your photographs are exquisite...

    Gail

    ReplyDelete
  4. Gail, this is a plant that would be perfect in my woodland area. I will search it out an hopefully find some.

    You can keep talking to us about your beautiful Phlox pilosa :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. melanie,

    I hope you can find it...and then let it go to town. I'm sure I will continue to share P pilosa stories!

    Gail

    ReplyDelete
  6. Gail, When I first started gardening, I wanted to plant some phlox, but was scared off when I read about powdery mildew or something it was susceptible to. But yours looks beautiful, and I love the pink color, too. I'll have to give it a try after all.

    ReplyDelete
  7. rose,

    This phlox has tiny little leaves and doesn't seem to attract powdery mildew. Hopefully you can locate some.

    Gail

    ReplyDelete
  8. You just answered a big question for me-I think?! Proven Winners plants has a cultivar Phlox that looks similar but is a weeping variety. It's an annual--but still they got it from somewhere. I'm thinking they crossed it with this beauty. I'll have to ask someone and see if they will let me in on the know.

    You commented on my LA Reynolds Nuresery post and I thought that maybe you thought I worked there. I don't--I work for a grower. LA Reynolds is just one of my favorite nurseries. I do miss working for a nursery. It wasn't about your comment at all.. it was just how you said it. No problems at all with your comment.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anna,

    I am going to have to go back and reread your post about Proven Winners, you may have explained how they work and I didn't retain the information. Do they have a lot of different growers? No, I knew you didn't work there...it did sound like a great place to spend time;)

    Gail

    ReplyDelete
  10. You've convinced me. Is this also known as woodland phlox? No, that must be phlox divartica? I tried that is hasn't returned.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Tina,

    No this is not woodland phlox but Downy phlox of Prairie phlox...it is a hardier plant....Glad you are convinced!


    gail

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gail: I'm thinking that it would just be a blaze of pink if the R. mucronulatum 'Cornell Pink' bloomed at the same time just in the background of this phlox. I like pink! School bus yellow is the only color I am not real crazy about. You know, the color of Stella d'Oro daylilies. They do show up when you are driving fast-50 mph plants.

    ReplyDelete
  13. layanee, that does sound beautiful... I have been wondering what to do to the green background! BTW, that is some forsythia but a lot of honeysuckle which has been very difficult to eradicate.
    Thanks, for helping to make my sweet pilosa even more beautiful.

    I have a day lily that I love, July Gold...a soft gold yellow.

    The list of plants we love is a long one.

    Gail

    ReplyDelete
  14. You convinced me, too. I could put one in the middle of my Wildflower Meadow (read that patch) and hope it spreads. I would have to put protection over it though, both rabbits and ground hogs live in this garden :(

    ReplyDelete

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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