Plant of the Month

Issue 345, August 2012

So much to choose from – some just going over, some just coming in.
Phlox paniculata; the perennial border phlox is a long established group of garden plants. There are a number of other species, several of which are best grown in the rock garden.
A quite superb fully hardy herbaceous perennial, with sweetly fragrant panicles of pink, white and purple/blue flowers, which appear from mid- summer, sometimes earlier through to late autumn. It is the ideal herbaceous or mixed border plant and can be used informally in a cottage garden.

It is also good for cutting and flower arranging. Phlox can be used to attract wild life such as bees and insects into the garden. Phlox ‘Nora Leigh’ has a variegated leave form and is well worth growing in the border. Phlox likes a well prepared soil that has been enriched with rotted compost or manure and is moisture retentive but does drain. Full sun is best but it can tolerate partial shade and is fully hardy. All the cultivars have an upright habit so may need support in the shape of a stake or birch twigs.

Phlox paniculata will require staking when planted in borders alongside other herbaceous perennials. Dead heading will prolong the flowering period. In late autumn cut the stems right down to the base and mulch with well-rotted manure or garden compost in early spring. There are other species of Phlox such as Phlox divaricata, P. douglasii and P. subulata that can be grown in alpine troughs and containers. They can also be planted in rockeries and as edging plants. There is also an annual Phlox called P. Drummondii of which there are several really worthwhile varieties, tall for mid or back of the border as well as lower growing sorts for the front.

Leave a Reply