Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Phlox

My life in appalachia - Phlox
Carolina Phlox Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

A few weeks ago, when we were talking about Thrift growing on my basement bank, more than a few of you said you had heard the low growing flower called Phlox.

The photo above is what I grew up calling Phlox. The actual flowers look similar to Thrift flowers-but while Thrift grows in a creeping fashion along the ground-Phlox grows erect, sometimes up to 3 feet tall.

Phlox is a common wildflower and can be found throughout the eastern US. The plants are hardy-and seem to do well if you place them where you want them. I have Phlox growing throughout my flower beds as well as growing wild in uncultivated areas surrounding my house and holler.

Phlox is a beautiful flower-the color of the petals stand out brightly against it’s green surroundings and the blue of a Carolina sky. The plant being a wildflower that grows where it will seems to be a special bonus.

Got Phlox?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Keith Jones
    June 26, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Thrift is creeping phlox, and blooms early. This tall phlox grows wild but has been semi domesticated. You can transplant the roots after they die back in fall. Purple is the original color but now available in pinks, white and variegated variations.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Not here on the farm. But there are several homes near by who grow it on banks in front of their home. Love it!

  • Reply
    June 16, 2012 at 7:08 am

    I have pink and also white phlox, but the numbers have dwindled as a stand of ash saplings has grown taller and shaded out what used to be the patch by my front door. I have a hard time cutting white ash…they are so pretty!

  • Reply
    Aunt Ruth
    June 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    That beautiful picture is what we in northern Ohio call phlox. It grows wild in the Metropark around Cleveland and is highly anticipated after the Virginia Bluebells have quit blooming for the year. My mother had phlox in our yard at home when I was a child and we all loved it!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    This is a Thrift plant.
    Some also call it a Pincushion Plant.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I’ve seen both and they’re gorgeous, and from what I understand, both the tall erect and low growing in a few various pinkish and reddish colors are varieties of phlox.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    June 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Yes, we have flox.I love to pick it & put it in tall vases-the smell is intoxicating!

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    June 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I didn’t know the name of it but I’m sure blessed to have plenty of it across the road from my house..So beautiful..

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    So is the creeping phlox and thrift and my graveyard flowers, from a discussion a few weeks ago, the same plant? I know it’s not the same flower in the picture because your blooms are bigger and on a longer stem while the graveyard flowers are right down on the ground in a clump. But the flower itself looks the same only a lot smaller. You could hold a ruler up beside to give it perspective but thatud mess up an otherwise perfect portrait of a Phlox. Oops! Too many PPPs! I’d better be careful lest I be mistaken for Jim Casada.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    June 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Granny always called the tall flower Sweet William. My wife calls it Garden Phlox. I still think of it as Sweet William. We have had both pink and white kind.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I don’t recon I have any of those
    tall flowers like that, mine are
    so tiny the lawnmower don’t even
    cut them. But that is a pretty
    color and my granddaughter would
    probably put that one in her ‘pink’ collection…Ken

  • Reply
    June 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Here the Louisiana blue phlox grows wild alongside the road and in fields. They are so beautiful with colors ranging from pale lavender to a deep dark purple. A common name that it is called here is Sweet Williams. Many people plant them as ground cover in their yards and flower gardens. When we first got married, my husband took me to a field near where we lived that was covered in with blooming Sweet William as far as you could see. It was so beautiful that it took my breath away.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    June 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Tipper: That flower looks like SWEET WILLIAM to me. But it is probably phlox. But Mama always called it ‘Sweet William’ and it still grows in my gardens! However, you have to NOT water it from above or you may get mildew on the leaves and then it looks scrappy!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    B f
    June 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    i had the tall kind of phlox for yrs, didnt have a problem of re setting it , finally tore up that flower bed to put a camper , now that small kind(creeping) looks so pretty on banks beside the road
    i use to have it till i moved away
    and was gone for yrs, when i came back strange(?) it had re appeared on someone elses bank . well stranger things have happened

  • Reply
    June 14, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Creeping phlox and thrift are two names for the same plant. We always called it creeping flox.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    June 14, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Grandma always called the low-growing “phlox” “creeping phlox”. The tall plant, like the one in your photo, she called phlox just like you do. She had several different colors growing near her home. Lavender, deep purple, pink, very pale pink and white. She ADORED her phlox! 😀

  • Reply
    Lonnie Dockery
    June 14, 2012 at 9:35 am

    That’s what I call Phlox, too. The other has always been Thrift. I’ve tried to transplant phlox but haven’t had any luck. Nice to know there are seeds for sale–that might work for me!

  • Reply
    Marylou Sweat
    June 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

    We love phlox! When our daughter was little we would always look for the bright patches along roadsides. She called them “flops”…I will never forget that! Marylou in Dover,Fla.

  • Reply
    Tim Cuthbertson
    June 14, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I have heard of phlox all my life and, other than knowing it was some kind of flower, I never had any idea what it is. Thanks.
    But, I have been well aware of thrift for many years. In the old South, you would often see houses with banks that dropped sharply to street level covered with the brilliantly colored thrift. I loved seeing them, the color just made me happy. However, I can’t remember the last time I saw it. Probably back in the 60’s.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Didn’t know that Phlox was a wildflower ( you could fill a book with the things I don’t know ). No flowers can top the wild ones as far as I’m concerned. We’ve had the ground creeping type for years. It can be so beautiful. I need to see if I can find that kind that grows erect. Then it could become another of “The day brighteners” at our home.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    June 14, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I had Phlox growing in one of my garden areas, but they needed to be caged as they kept falling over. Actually, they weren’t as nice looking until I put a cagae around them. I took them out, but I do miss them. I might try once again.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Phlox grows here by the roads and fields. I think it’s so pretty. Tried digging up some and setting it out in the yard but it never did well.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2012 at 8:18 am

    to funny, i just noticed to white phlox in our front yard, they are volunteer phlox since we did not plant them. as a child in Savannah, my aunt had a field, a couple of acres and this time of year it was acres of phlox. i loved to pick them and put them in jars.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I’ve always loved this pretty wildflower. It blooms much earlier down here in Florida.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 14, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Nope, no Phlox here but some might be nice in with my Hostas.
    My Rhododendrons are starting to bloom. I sure enjoy them.

  • Reply
    Barbara Gantt
    June 14, 2012 at 7:40 am

    I ihave Phlox growing in my flower beds , the same as your picture. Here, this one is sold as a prize flower to grow. There is a wild Phlox that grows along the roads. The color is a very light lavender or white. I grew up calling the ground Phlox…thrift. Barbara Gantt

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 14, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Phlox grows wild around here. I have started seeing seed packets too. That always lets me know it is Spring. (Even thought it is full bloom summer here)

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 14, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Beautiful flower! Beautiful picture! I never cease to be amazed at your photographic skills. Yeah, I got Phlox! It grows at my place like weeds. So if the neighbors complain about my lawn not being mowed now, I’ll tell ’em I’m growing wildflowers.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    June 14, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Love phlox!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 14, 2012 at 7:06 am

    I called the tall flower in your picture Phlox as well…Seems that Thrift, which I always heard my Grandmother call it….somehow got changed to Creeping Phlox later in my life…Funny how flowers get all these names around different parts of the Appalachias…Better half and I were just admiring a few roadside patches just the other day…It just jumps out at you among the green background of a hillside…
    I have transplanted Phlox, but it doesn’t do well for me…not even the new hybrid store-boughten ones…only lasting a couple of years…Thanks for the post, it is a day brightener…LOL

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