Phlox divaricata subsp. laphamii 'Chattahoochee'
Common Name: wild sweet William 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Polemoniaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Lavender, maroon eye
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Heavy Shade, Clay Soil, Dry Soil


Best grown in humusy, medium moisture, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers rich, organic soils with continuous, even moisture. Appreciates a light summer mulch which helps retain moisture and keep roots cool. If soils dry out, foliage decline will occur and plants may go into dormancy. Self-seeds in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Phlox divaricata, commonly called woodland phlox, is a spreading, Missouri-native, spring wildflower which forms mats of foliage with stems typically reaching 12-15" tall. As the common name suggests, this is a woodland variety which occurs in rich woods, fields and along streams throughout the state of Missouri. Loose clusters of fragrant, tubular, blue-violet flowers (to 1.5" wide) with five, flat, petal-like lobes appear at the stem tips in spring. Stems are both hairy and sticky. Lance-shaped to elliptic leaves (to 2" long). Can form large colonies over time as the leafy shoots spread along the ground rooting at the nodes.

Phlox divaricata is common throughout eastern North America east of the State of Missouri, but P. d. var. laphamii is the common form in Missouri. Var. laphamii is primarily distinguished from the species by having darker blue flowers with unnotched petals.

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 spreading.

'Chattahoochee' is a spreading, low-growing, phlox. Stems typically grow 10-12" tall. Loose clusters of slightly fragrant, tubular, pale lavender-blue flowers with maroon throats and five, flat, petal-like lobes appear at the stem tips in spring. A prolific bloomer. Lance-shaped to elliptic, shiny, dark green leaves (to 2" long). Some report it as resulting from a cross between Phlox divaricata var. laphamii and Phlox pilosa.


Powdery mildew can be a problem as summer humidity kicks in. Cutting back stems after flowering helps combat mildew and prevents self-seeding. Spider mites can also be a problem, particularly in hot, dry conditions. Watch out for rabbits.


Woodland gardens, shade gardens, native plant gardens or naturalized areas. An effective shallow-rooted cover for early spring bulbs. Also appropriate for shaded areas of border fronts and rock gardens.