Phlox paniculata

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: garden phlox
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Polemoniaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Pink-purple to white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Black Walnut

Culture

Grow in moderately fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Prefers rich, moist, organic soils. Also prefers moderate summer temperatures over the heat and humidity of the deep South. Needs good air circulation (space well and thin out stems as needed) to help combat potential powdery mildew problems. Intolerant of drought and needs to be watered in dry spells. Avoid overhead watering however. Appreciates a summer mulch which helps keep the root zone cool. For winter, cut plants to the ground and remove from the garden plus clean up all plant areas in order to minimize possible powdery mildew infection for the following growing season.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Phlox paniculata, commonly known as garden phlox, is native from New York to Iowa south to Georgia, Mississippi and Arkansas. It has escaped gardens and naturalized into areas beyond its original native range. In Missouri, it is typically found south of the Missouri River in moist or rich low woods, thickets, alluvial banks and gravel bars along streams and bluff bases (Steyermark). This is an upright perennial that grows in a clump to 2-4' tall and to 2-3' wide on stiff stems clad with conspicuously veined, opposite, pointed, elliptic, deep green leaves (to 4-6" long). Fragrant, tubular, pink-purple to white florets (to 3/4” diameter) are densely packed in large, tiered, domed terminal clusters (to 6-8") over a long July to September bloom period. Each individual floret has a long corolla tube and five flat petal-like lobes. Butterflies love the flowers.

A large number of garden phlox cultivars in flower colors including white, lavender, pink, rose, red and bi-color area available in commerce. Cultivars resistant to powdery mildew are often the best choices.

The genus name of Phlox is derived from the Greek word for flame.

Problems

Susceptible to powdery mildew and root rot. Taller stems may need staking.

Garden Uses

Garden phlox is a staple of the perennial border.