Phlox maculata 'Natascha'
Common Name: wild sweet William 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Polemoniaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to October
Bloom Description: Pink/white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer


Easily grown in moderately fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to light shade. Prefers moist, organically rich soils in full sun. Plants are intolerant of drought and need to be watered in dry spells. Plants need good air circulation to help combat potential powdery mildew problems. Avoid overhead watering. Plants appreciate a summer mulch which helps keep root zones cool. Remove faded flower panicles to prolong bloom period. If not deadheaded, plants will self-seed in optimum growing conditions. Can slowly spread over time by both slender rhizomes and self-seeding to form large colonies.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Phlox maculata, commonly called meadow phlox as well as, somewhat confusingly, wild sweet William. It is native to eastern North America where it typically occurs in moist meadows, low woods and riverbanks. It is an upright, clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial which typically grows 2-3' tall. Sweetly-aromatic, tubular, 5-lobed, pinkish-purple flowers (to 1/2" across) with long corolla tubes are densely arranged in large, cylindrical, terminal clusters (panicles to 12" long) atop stiff, upright, red-spotted stems. Plants seldom need staking. Flowers bloom in summer. Thin, opposite, finely-toothed, lance-shaped, dark green leaves (to 5" long). Good fresh cut flower. Attractive to butterflies, birds and hummingbirds. Phlox maculata subsp. pyramidalis is the form of this plant which is native to Missouri. Although subsp. pyramidalis reportedly has, inter alia, unscented flowers and more pyramidal-shaped flower panicles, it should be noted that Steyermark does not find the purported differences between the subspecies and the species to be significant.

The genus name is derived from the Greek word phlox meaning flame in reference to the intense flower colors of some varieties.

Specific epithet means spotted.

'Natascha' is an upright, clump-forming perennial which features large, conical-shaped, terminal clusters of 5-lobed, bicolored pink/white flowers with long corolla tubes atop stiff, spotted stems. A compact plant that typically grows to 2' tall (lower than the species) and seldom needs staking. Thick, lance-shaped to linear, glossy, dark green leaves (2-4" long).


Phlox is not always an easy plant to grow. Powdery mildew and root rot can be serious problems. However, this species is noted for its mildew resistance and is considered to be a good alternative to the more mildew-susceptible garden phlox (P. paniculata) in areas where powdery mildew thrives. Spider mites can also be a problem, particularly in hot, dry conditions.


Meadow phlox is an excellent summer-blooming plant for the perennial border, cottage garden, wildflower meadow or native plant garden.