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Phlox divaricata 'May Breeze' (woodland phlox)

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Technical sheet - Phlox creeping

Phlox divaricata 'May Breeze'

woodland phlox

A delightful spring-blooming native for shade, it carpets the shady border with nearly white blooms. 'May Breeze' will spread and fill in around bulbs or perennials that are late to emerge. A small-statured wild sweet william with loose clusters of fragrant, pale blue, almost white flowers that drive the butterflies wild! A Piet Oudolf introduction, from the Netherlands.

Phlox divaricata 'May Breeze' - 72 per flat Availability
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12-15 Inches


12 Inches


10-12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

woodland phlox Interesting Notes

White Woodland Phlox: Although the flowers on this selection are described as pale blue, it reads as white in the garden. 'May Breeze' lightens up woodland areas, is sweetly fragrant, and is magical woven through sweeps of blue woodland Phlox. There was a Niche staff stampede for this plant!! An introduction from Piet Oudolf in the Netherlands, via North Creek Nurseries. - Niche Gardens

Phlox divaricata: An indispensible spring ephemeral for eastern shade gardeners. The plants loft clouds of 1-foot flowering stems with narrow, pointed cauline leaves that die after blooming and in the summer spread low stems of more rounded, dark green foliage. They will usually begin to self-sow and create great drifts that blend well with other woodlanders in successional plantings. It blooms a week or two earlier than P. stolonifera, so plant both for longer bloom. - William Cullina, The New England Wild Flower Society Guide to Growing and Propagating Wildflowers

If P. stolonifera hugs, P. divaricata hovers. The blue woodland phlox is nearly twice as high (to the knee when in flower) and twice as sweet; its other name is wild sweet William. Plants will cover ground more slowly than P. stolonifera, but we're still talking a creeping mound. Though each of its petals is notched at the tip for a somewhat showier flower, what really undoes me about the long-blooming P. divaricata is what it makes of the color blue: icy, subtle, rich, or startling, depending on the selection. Out of flower, it doesn't have quite the foliage presence of P. stolonifera (it's not as dense a cover); its strength is not as a specimen but as a mingler, chatting its way across the woodland floor. - Ketzel Levine's Talking Plants

The genus name Phlox is derived from the Greek word for flame.

Phlox divaricata 'May Breeze' Growing and Maintenance Tips

P. divaricata prefers bright shade with organic, rich, moist, well-drained soils. These slowly spreading stemmed flowers can be found in rich woods and along stream banks. Give good air circulation to reduce growth of powdery mildew. Benefits from occasional fertilization. May be propagated by terminal shoot or root cuttings. Cut back after first bloom to promote second round of growth. Makes an excellent addition to the perennial, naturalized area or rock garden.

Good Substitutions

woodland phlox Phlox divaricata 'Blue Moon'
creeping phlox Phlox stolonifera 'Sherwood Purple'

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Early Spring
Early Spring

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Green Infrastructure
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative Upland (FACU)
Plug Type
Horticultural Plug
Clay Tolerance
Native to North America
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Spring / Early Summer
Propagation Type