Most of the garden phlox are Phlox paniculata, although P. carolina ‘Miss Lingard’ is a good perennial for part-sun areas.

These flowers are a stalwart in my estimation. I mean, by that, that this plant has good presence with showy bloom which dominate their time of flowering. Between July and late August, depending on the cultivar

  • Height: 2-4 ft. tall
  • Width: 2-3 ft, upright
  • Zone‎: ‎3 to 8
  • Moisture: average
  • Soil: Fertile, rich

Quite hardy, they are best planted “en masse”, but with plenty of airflow. Fine cut flowers, with a light fragrance, it is no wonder that they were favorites in our grandmother’s gardens.

Description,The Look of Phlox Paniculata

Colors of pink, rose, a glowing red, lavenders, purple, and white, with self and eyed variations, they are ice cream colors at a time when golds begin to predominate the perennial flower beds.

garden phloxUpright plants topped with clouds of flower panicles, they are a visual treat that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Individual florets have five lobes and are grouped into a dome-shaped cluster atop the stem.

The foliage is lance shaped on stiff stems. It is a good, deep green when healthy.

While available in cultivars with variegated foliage, I don’t care for the look, even though I generally like variegated leaves. If you are interested, look for ‘Crème de Menthe’, ‘Darwin’s Choice’, ‘Norah Leigh’, ‘Shockwave’.

My personal favorite will always be ‘Starfire‘, a cherry red, very dependable cultivar.

How To Cultivate

  • Choose a spot with moist soil and plenty of sunshine. At least 6 hours.
    • They will survive with less sun, but not bloom well and be subject to mildew
  • Likes moisture, but with good drainage.
  • When watering, keep off the foliage (as with roses)
  • Mulch is beneficial to keep soil cool and conserve moisture.

Similar conditions to clematis will suit this perennial. Feet kept cool, head in the sun. Neutral to sweet soil pH.

tall perennial phlox

Tall perennial phlox in a sumptuous pink.

Whether grown in perennial beds and borders, tall phlox is at home within informal cottage styles or cutting garden beds.

These plants were very popular with early twentieth century gardeners, but use waned with the decline of American interest in flower borders. They will always be a good addition where a lush flowering show is wanted.

old fashioned garden

Considered old fashioned in 1906

Today, they can be considered an excellent choice because Phlox is a native plant, and helps support wildlife.

Making More Plants

Seed is less desirable since many of the finest plants are hybrids. Seeds may revert to a pale lilac color without the excellent qualities of breeding.

  • Use cuttings to make more plants
  • Division is good way to propagate, as well.

 

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How to Maintain Phlox Paniculata

Divide every three years in early fall. Replant in area with enriched soil and with good air circulation.

Give each plant spacing of two feet; add light mulch once plant begins growing. Water the roots, not the shoots. Thin out shoots if growing too thickly, remove any that look withered or poor.

Feed with 5-10-5 in spring, sidedress with compost after blooming.

Removing spent flower heads improve the look after blooming, and cutting back to a sideshoot can give a modest re-bloom.

Phlox Problems

  • Powdery mildew, prevent with good airflow and water with soaker, not overhead.
  • Root rot, prevent with good drainage
  • Spider mites, stem nematodes, leaf miners, prevent by keeping healthy.