It’s refreshing when a perennial doesn’t need pampering, coddling and coaxing to thrive. Many old-time perennials are low-maintenance and long-lived, as pioneer homesteaders had little free time to sweet-talk flowers into survival. Phlox paniculata is an old-fashioned perennial that’s enjoying fresh popularity.
Phlox paniculata’s common names are simply garden phlox or tall phlox. (As opposed to the low-growing creeping phlox subulata.)
What makes garden phlox special?
- Phlox grows in a neat upright oval, averaging 3 feet high and 2 feet wide.
- Flowers are borne in pyramid-shaped clusters called panicles. (That’s were the species name paniculata originates.)
- Wide-ranging colors include white, pink, orange, red, lavender, violet, rose, and two-tone.
- They bloom over an extended period in mid-summer, usually July and August.
- Phlox are less maintenance than many perennials, forming a self-contained clump that slowly increases in a neat diameter.
Growing tips for garden phlox:
- Phlox bloom best in full sun. Part sun is ok, but if sun isn’t sufficient, flowering decreases.
- Provide each plant with a square of growing space at least 2 feet by 2 feet
- Divide plants every 4-5 years if blooming decreases or if the center of the clump becomes woody and open.
Phlox’s main challenge:
- Some varieties of phlox are susceptible to foliage mildews and diseases. Preventative fungicides can be applied, but the best prevention is to select varieties that are labeled as disease resistant.
Selecting phlox cultivars:
- Exciting new varieties are being introduced each year, and hundreds are on the market.
- Besides choosing desired colors, look for varieties that are labeled as disease resistant.
- Several well-know highly rated phlox are David, Katherine, and Shortwood, plus many, many more.