Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) and creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera) are both shade-loving species prized for their beautiful spring flowers. Many selections have been made over the years for different flower colors; however, only a few are regularly offered at garden centers. Although beautiful, powdery mildew and poor vigor can be problematic. Mt. Cuba Center trialed a variety of these selections over a period of three years in order to determine which plants perform best in the mid-Atlantic region.
While creeping phlox was relatively easy to grow, we found most of the woodland phlox cultivars much more difficult. One explanation for the challenges experienced with several cultivars is that the initial plants were not in the healthiest condition at planting. This weak start may have been enough to hamper their performance for the rest of the trial. Therefore, we recommend purchasing only vigorous, actively growing plants of woodland phlox in order to ensure better garden establishment.
The best performing selections in our shade phlox trial are: Phlox divaricata, P. divaricata ‘Blue Moon’, P. stolonifera ‘Fran’s Purple’, P. stolonifera ‘Home Fires’, P. stolonifera ‘Pink Ridge’, P. stolonifera ‘Sherwood Purple’.
Below are detailed descriptions about the performance of each plant in the evaluation. Sun-loving species in our trial are addressed here.
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Phlox stolonifera ‘Fran’s Purple’
Fran’s Purple creeping phlox
Phlox stolonifera ‘Sherwood Purple’
Sherwood Purple creeping phlox
Phlox divaricata ‘Blue Moon’
Blue Moon woodland phlox
Phlox stolonifera ‘Pink Ridge’
Pink Ridge creeping phlox
Phlox stolonifera ‘Home Fires’
Home Fires creeping phlox
Phlox × procumbens ‘Pink Profusion’
Pink Profusion hybrid phlox
Phlox divaricata ‘Charleston Pink’
Charleston Pink woodland phlox
Phlox stolonifera ‘Margie’
Margie creeping phlox
Phlox ‘Violet Pinwheels’
Violet Pinwheels phlox