Garden phlox is an easy to grow perennial, great for garden color, and marvelous for cutting. Plants grow in clumps with strong stems that bear simple lance-shaped leaves. These stems are topped with clusters of fragrant, showy, five-petaled flowers, each blossom rising from a narrow tube. The color range includes white, rose, pink, purple, lavender, and magenta. Some flowers are bicolored.
How to grow: Provide rich, well-drained soil in full sun or light shade and plenty of water during the summer. Plants are susceptible to powdery mildew, so space them 18 inches apart to promote air circulation. Divide plants every three years to keep them vigorous.
Propagation: By division or from seed.
Uses: Garden phlox can be grouped by color or mixed. The taller types of plants work best at the rear of the border.
Related varieties: The Symons-Jeune strain of phlox paniculata was developed for strength of stems and resistance to mildew. P. stolonifera has white or purple flowers in spring on ground-cover plants under a foot tall. P. drummondii is an annual and is biennial in the South. P. carolina is similar to P. paniculata but blooms earlier and has more resistance to mildew.
Scientific name: Phlox paniculata