Plant of the Week: Blue Moon wild phlox

The High Line's planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 500 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line's rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today. This week we share one of our gardeners' current favorites with you.

Carpets of Phlox divaricata, otherwise known as Blue Moon wild phlox, are blooming on the north side of the Chelsea Thicket. A ground cover with light purple flowers atop 12-inch-tall stems, Phlox divaricata is often used in under-plantings.

Here at the High Line, it is especially striking next to Salix chaenomeloides, and at the northernmost tip of the Thicket, Barbara Kruger's Untitled (Blind Idealism Is…) adds deep hues in which Phlox divaricata shines even brighter.

Be on the lookout for bees, wasps, moths, skippers, swallowtails and other butterflies because Phlox divaricata is a nectar source. Like all plants in the genus, Phlox divaricata is native to North America. All Phlox have flowers with five petals and bear opposite leaves.


Blue Moon is best grown in part shade or shade, in rich, well drained soils. Pay attention to spider mites and powdery mildew. For the former, organic miticides are available, and for the latter, it is a good practice to cut back stems after flowering to prevent mildew formation.


Chelsea Thicket

Photos by Ayinde Listhrop.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line's most important gardening projects.

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