When this phlox blooms, we know the season has begun in earnest. Early spring bloomers like bloodroot and trillium are done and Phlox glaberrima ‘Morris Berd’ breaks out its blooms to tell us to get ready for the summer ahead. This disease resistant Smooth Phlox is named after horticulturist Morris Berd, and blooms from late May into June.
Morris Berd is compact and can be used as a ‘groundcover’ since it retains attractive burgundy foliage in mild winters. It grows naturally in stream banks, open bottomland forests, seeps, swamps and marshes. In the garden, sun or bright shade and well drained soil should do the trick. It can tolerate clay loam, sand and heat. Better yet, it seems to be deer resistant! Although rabbits do seem to nibble at it.
This plant is adapatable and you can use it in rain gardens as well as shade, butterfly and hummingbird gardens. It also supports a variety of moth and beneficial pollinator species. What more could we ask of a plant, you ask? It is juglans tolerant and will grow under black walnut.
Try pairing it with smooth aster, purple coneflower, beardtongue or switch grass. After blooming, if you cut the stems back, a new flush of leaves will develop and you will have a tidy mound of glossy foliage for the rest of the summer. If you leave the blooms on, it will slowly spread by seed. It can also slowly spread by rhizomes over time to form a large colony.
This is one plant sure to please. No garden is complete without it.