Saturday, December 4, 2010

Old Reliable has Been Updated Again!

I know the title sounds like it should be a car add, but it's not.
I am speaking about tall garden phlox, Plox paniculata. There are many, many hybrids now and some of the old standards still exist. I must rub it in that I do not particularly have a rust or mildew problem in my area so sometimes I don't watch for those that are resistant to such things, but most varieties on the market are.

I like most tall phlox, I do. They are dependable plants. I have had in my gardens such wonderful varieties as 'Mt. Fuji', 'Prince of Orange', 'David', 'Franz Schubert', and the wonderful variegated forms- Love the display of 'Becky Towe'.
For the nursery I have had at times 'Orange Perfection', 'Blue Paradise', 'Goldmine', 'Starfire'. This year I am going to be growing a subtle beauty named 'Jade'. Now when we hear the name 'Jade' we think green. Though these are not solid green flowers they do have an edge of pale celadon on crisp white petals making them very attractive to combine with other phlox and silvery plants.

I just can't imagine a perennial boarder without late summer beauties such as Phlox paniculata. Some are deliciously fragrant and others are just shocking in color. Some are so fade proof in my hot desert sun that I love to design with them as well. They are hardy, rapid growers that will grow into a divisible clump within three years. And though the tag may say 18-22 inches, with a good spring mulching they should jump up to a good two feet or more by the end of the season.

To stake or not to stake? I should be staking mine, the winds we have out here are just disastrous at times, and if you get a good rain they could just turn into a heap of blooms flopping in all directions. So I might suggest creating some form of support for them by the end of the summer. When I say support it does not have to be some wire basket contraption, it could be something as easy as some twigs and garden twine. Subtle and organic is most often times less detectable as dark green wire hoops on rod-like legs.
If you like the cottage look- either English cottage or the Victorian American- these are highly recommended plants for your garden. Plant them behind daylilies (Hemerocallis) and along side Echinaceas to create a soft and colorful look. I think about using Orange Perfection with Silvermound Artemisia or Santolina in the foreground to give it a more electric look.


  1. I have had some phlox in my garden a while back. They are such a lovely plant.

  2. I am LOVING your blog! I am so glad Bren mentioned you the other day...I will be back! I am following you now too!

  3. I have many old phlox in my garden. I am presently trying to find which one is closest to the color of a 1977 Prince George. Can you help me?