Melinda's Low Maintenance Plants: Garden Phlox

Garden Phlox David

Brighten your summer garden with classic Garden Phlox...

 

Grow garden phlox and enjoy a long season of bloom, fragrance and winged visitors adding motion and color to the garden.  This stately perennial has been a mainstay in gardens since colonial times. The hundreds of varieties in a rainbow of colors with increased mildew resistance have helped maintain its popularity.

You’ll enjoy the vivid colored flowers that top sturdy stems for several months each summer. Choose from pink, rose, red, coral, salmon, lavender, violet and white flowers. Some blossoms have a lighter or darker center called an eye. Remove faded flowers, deadhead, to encourage continual flowering into fall.  Or harvest flowers regularly and enjoy their color and fragrance indoors. You’ll stimulate additional flowering while brightening your indoor décor. Deadheading and harvesting cut flowers also prevents reseeding and unwanted volunteer plants.

Grow this native beauty in full sun or partial shade. It prefers moist well-drained soil and suffers during extreme heat and dry conditions. Water established plants thoroughly during dry periods. Mulch the soil with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic material to help keep roots cool and moist.

Select the mildew resistant varieties that best fit your garden design. Use compact garden phlox such as Junior Dance, Junior Dream, Flame Series and Pixie Miracle for the edge of the garden, containers or small spaces.  Add height, vertical interest and a backdrop for other perennials with taller varieties like David, Laura and Nicky.

You’ll appreciate their hardy nature, sturdy stems that don’t require staking, and ability to tolerate clay soil and black walnut toxicity. Reduce the risk of powdery mildew on older varieties by growing them in full sun. Remove one fourth of the stems as they emerge in spring and provide plants with adequate space to reach full size. This increases airflow through and light penetration to the center of the plants further decreasing the risk of disease.  Avoid overhead watering and do a thorough cleanup in the fall.

Mix these summer blooming favorites with just about any of your other perennials. Try combining them with bee balm, switch grass, balloon flower, daylilies and more. Or pop them into any garden space in need of summer long color.

 

At a Glance

Name: Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)

Size:  15 to 48” tall and 18 to 36” wide

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water:  Water thoroughly whenever the top few inches of soil is starting to dry.

Fertilizer: Fertilize at planting or with a slow release fertilizer. Spread an inch of compost over the soil surface to improve the soil and reduce future fertilization.

Soil: Moist, well-drained, organic soil

 

Written by, gardening expert, Melinda Myers.  Each month Melinda will feature a low maintenance plant perfect for beginning and experienced gardeners looking for attractive easy care plants.  Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience.  She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s Low Maintenance Plant of the Month with you!