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