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

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday: Practically Perfect Pink Phlox pilosa


My front garden is finally awake but,  the star of the spring show is taking a slow walk down the runway!
when it's in full bloom I want to lie down in the garden and just breath
I don't mind waiting but, I did want to show her off to you. It's been years since I actually posted about the famous Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and what better time than April Wildflower Wednesday. After all, most years she blooms the entire month and what a marvelously pleasing display it is. It's warming up, so PPPP will be up to speed soon. I'll update photos while this post is current, in the meantime,  I hope you enjoy these photos from the garden this week and a few from previous seasons.
  fragrant pink flowers that charm all who visit
Long time readers already know about her charms...PPPP has an exceptionally long bloom time (six weeks or longer), fantastic pink flowers, grows in sun and part sun, tolerates clay soil that's wet all winter and dry all summer, has a marvelous ground covering effect, and has the sweetest fragrance that wafts all over the garden on warm days. You'll have to agree, a plant like that is practically perfect! (Clay and Limestone's Happy Trinity)
Deer and bunnies wonder through my garden daily and never have they nibbled on the phlox.
Phlox pilosa is also known as Downy Phlox or Prairie Phlox, what ever you call it, it's a hard working plant for any spring garden. 

Phlox flowers are the classic butterfly plant with their perfect landing pad (flared petals), a narrow tube that is accessible to the long proboscis of butterflies and fragrant flowers that occur in loose, rounded clusters.  The long bloom time means there's plenty of nectar for pollinator visitors from early to mid-spring. I've seen butterfly, skippers, bumblebees, Minor bees, carpenter bees and Flower flies visiting. I've read that Hummers visit as well and since it's blooming late here, they might stop by, too. Although, they are reported to be eaten by bunnies and deer, they've never even nibbled on them in my garden.

If all that doesn't make them Practically Perfect, I don't know what else could. 
hairy or downy covering on stems, leaves and flowers
P pilosa is a stoloniferous, semi-evergreen native wildflower which can form large colonies. Although, I've never heard anyone call PPPP a thug, some gardeners may not appreciate how quickly it can spread in rich soil. Colonizing is a plus for me, I love that it makes a big statement and unlike some colonizing plants, it's easy to lift and transplant. I am especially pleased at how well it's growing in the shallow soil over the bedrock in the Susan's Bed....That says a lot about a plant.
the color variations from light pink, to dark pink, even lavender and white are marvelous
It's found naturally growing in open woodlands, meadows, prairie remnants and limestone glades through out the eastern US and Canada. You can find it online at many well known nurseries and locally in Middle Tennessee at GroWild Nursery.
Spring 2011
You simply have to have this plant in your garden, it's easy to grow and is pleasing to the senses. Trust me, you won't be disappointed with near perfection.

xxoogail


Welcome to Wildflower Wednesday! It's time to share your wildflowers no matter where you garden~the UK, tropical Florida, Europe, Australia, Africa, South America, India or the coldest reaches of Canada. It doesn't matter if we sometimes show the same plants, how they grow and thrive in your garden is what matters most. I hope you join the celebration..It's always the fourth Wednesday of the month!



Just add your name to Mr Linky to join in the fun.


Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

45 comments:

  1. Wow, it looks so festive in your woody environment. The form is similar to the periwinkle or Vinca. It is so inviting in your area.

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  2. Great photos of these wonderful, beautiful flowers with stunning aroma!
    Happy Wildflower Wednesday!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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  3. I will be linking in on Monday...I love your pink phlox and can't wait to see some phlox soon

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  4. I wonder why I don't have this plant in my garden? I posted today about true invasive plant that can knock out wildflowers.

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  5. Mine are up but there aren't any blooms as yet. It won't be long though. Happy WW.

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  6. I looked to see where this grows and it has it being present all the way down here i s.e. FL, so I'm going to see if I can find it.

    I always enjoy seeing your lovely gardens.

    FlowerLady

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  7. You have been so generous with this sweet Phlox, dear Gail, sharing it far and wide with information and images and sending it via snailmail to folks who ask for it. You are the Gailey Appleseed of PPPP!
    xoxoxo
    Frances

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    1. My bff always call me Gailey! You can, too...xoxox

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  8. I have this in my front flower bed. It is in bloom now and I can smell it when I am in the back yard. The scent is heavenly.

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    1. It is heavenly and practically perfect.

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  9. I will have to try this one. I have P. divaricata, P. stolonifera (which I love!) and a hybrid 'Chattahoochee' which I understood to be a cross between P. pilosa and P. divaricata, though it's listed as P. divaricata most of the time. At any rate, the leaves look like P. pilosa, and deer don't like it as much as the others, but it doesn't seem to grow as well in my garden, either. Yours looks beautiful—practically perfect, in fact!

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    1. Daricia, Email me with your address and I will share.

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  10. I love my PPPP! I've been lifting divisions and placing them in other spots about the garden. Thus far they've adapted quite happily to everywhere they're placed ... they may look delicate but they're troopers!

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    1. It's practically perfect and everyone should have a bit in their garden. Good news that it is happy in your garden.

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  11. I'm so glad you showcased this great plant once again, Gail! Thanks to you, I now have my own little stand of PPPP, and I suspect it has spread to many gardens all over this country, thanks to your generosity. I'm still waiting for blooms here, though; everything is slower to open this year. I just hope it didn't get flooded out in last week's awful rains!

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    1. Rose, I was delighted to share it and am so glad you appreciate its many charms. Please post a photo when it blooms!

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  12. I only learned the name PPPP when I started reading your blog last year. I always just called it the pink woodland phlox and my mother-in-law called it "sweet william". Almost 20 years ago, a friend of mine gave me a clump from her garden and now it is just about everywhere in my gardens. I have large areas covered and places where she plays hide and seek. I am full of anticipation for this year's show which is only just beginning. I will post pictures on my blog when we hit full tilt pink! It is practically perfect! And does wonderfully when cut and brought in and perfumes your indoors.

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    1. Beth, That's so very exciting...and I am glad you feel it's practically perfect, too.

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  13. Beautiful phlox, your pics make me yearn for a woodland garden, not happening anytime soon in my hot arid plot:)

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  14. Your Practically Perfect Pink Phlox are Nearly Perfection! ;-) However, I must tout the lavender Woodland Phlox! Mine are beginning to grown in number - slowly... but I'll post them later. :-)

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    1. I have them, too, Kathy! I love phlox.

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  15. So charming...and so perfect for spring!

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  16. Those are gorgeous, I love how the mass so beautifully in your garden. I need to try this one again since it gave up during a record heat and drought summer.

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  17. Hi Gail! It's been a while since I've done Wildflower Wednesday, but it's good to be back :)

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  18. Nice photos today of the phlox. I have so many in my gardens here on the shores of Lake Michigan. They add lots of color in large groups in the gardens.

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  19. I love your Phlox, such a great color. I always learn something when I come here. Thanks for hosting this.

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  20. My phlox are just coming up. I think you are about two weeks ahead of us in Virginia. I love your photos and wish I had that much phlox. You are right that it is easy to grow.

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  21. I wonder why I never see this pink phlox pilosa anywhere but on your blog?! I seriously would like to try some, one day, if you ever have any you'd like to share! As I've said before, I have p.subulata, p. pilosa, p. divaricata and p. stononifera but not the PINK pilosa...only purple. Where can one find this, other than at C&L?! It's lovely :)

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    1. oops! I incorrectly wrote that I had p. pilosa but that isn't the case, I have subulata, divaricata, stolonifera and the tall garden phlox paniculata. Going to do something about that...maybe order from the online source you mentioned.

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  22. Hi Gail, A few of mine have flower buds on them. They have spread around a bit, too. I am not sure if I am going to remember which are the natives I found after planting the 'Eco Happy Traveler'. I also have a number of liatris cultivars, as well as the native ones. Part of me wants to take out the non-native ones, but I'm not going to take out every single non native of other kinds of flowers. Again, I keep having to remind myself I am not going to have a prairie on my little corner lot, and to relax and enjoy the garden.

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  23. She's a beauty alright! I bought some wildflower perennials today, but they will have to wait to be featured on Wildflower Wednesday until next month. With the late warm-up, everything is happening at once in the garden. Yippee!

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  24. I have Phlox divaritica, and Phlox paniculata 'David'. Phlox pilosa looks wonderful, except I'm really not looking for more pink in the garden right now. I like that it covers the ground and is fragrant. Is the fragrance like P. divaritica?

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  25. Your Phlox are lovely, I am green with envy. I just lucked out on a Phlox divaricata on clearance at HD, which is a comfort, I am trying to grow it and your P. pilosa from seed and just got the pots out of the refrigerator, so hopefully I will see some little seedlings coming up soon. I also grew the annual P. drummondi and those plants are about ready to set outside after they harden off. Some are starting to make blooms already. I am becoming enamoured of annuals.:-)

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  26. I would say 'perfect' although practically perfect is more fun.

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  27. I agree Phlox pilosa is practically perfect! All of your pictures are gorgeous, the one from 2009 especially so.

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  28. Gail you enabled me to get this one last year and now I have several scattered about the gardens. They are just beginning to bloom for me and you were right, they are marvelous! I'm just north of the border from you in Kentucky and I got some from GroWild last year (looking forward to their Native Plant Festival this weekend!) I take a lot of my planting cues from you, thanks for that!

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  29. What a beauty this plant looks - very nice Gail. It reminds me of Red Campion growing in my garden although I suspect your Phlox is much better behaved ;-)

    I've joined you this time - although I did have a hedgehog gatecrashing my post ;-)

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  30. We have a glorious sunny autumn day. My WF is a hum of bees!

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  31. My PPP is late this year too. In my garden, it does spread about, but it is far from a thug, and has been badly crowded out by Allium cernuum. It'll be a few years before it's back to its glorious fullness after I cleared out the Alliums last summer. It really is an outstanding plant.

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  32. MMGD,
    I just planted a clump of Allium cernuum yesterday. I have other kinds of alliums, but don't know if they are native. Actually, I think I figured out yesterday that one is not. Are they pretty spready?

    Gail, I think I'm seeing little clumps of the PPP and the Ecco happy traveler I got here and there. I thought they would spread by runners, but it looks like they must also spread by seed, unless the runners just don't send up plants that connect. I just wish I only had the native. They are going to end up breeding with each other, maybe they already have.

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  33. She's aging well...still vibrant, showing and full of pizzazz! Glad the critters leave her alone. I may soon have a spot to add PPP to my garden in 2014 as I change things around.

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  34. Always love to see you PPPP Gail! I tried seeds a couple years ago but they never sprouted.

    I'm very tardy to the party, but I actually managed to finally post our April wild things. Life has been crazy lately, but good.

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  35. I am also in love with PPPP - I wrote about it in my blog and cited your blog as a link (and credited you with the nickname). Reading your blog is what inspired me to start my own garden blog. Love seeing familiar plants and ones I haven't tried yet here in Memphis.

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


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