Phlox paniculata 'Peppermint Twist'
Common Name: garden phlox
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Polemoniaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Pink and white stripes
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Attracts: 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. Remove faded flower panicles to prolong bloom period and to prevent unwanted self-seeding (cultivars generally do not come true from seed).

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 are available in commerce. Cultivars resistant to powdery mildew are often the best choices.

The genus name is derived from the Greek word phlox meaning flame in reference to the intense flower colors of some varieties.

Specific epithet refers to the plant bearing flowers in panicles.

'Peppermint Twist' was selected by Jan Verschoor on his nursery in Haarlem, The Netherlands in 2001 from a branch sport of Phlox ‘Candy Floss’, a solid pink cultivar that he had bred and introduced in 1988. ‘Peppermint Twist’ has fragrant flowers with pink and white stripes like the spokes of a wheel. It has a compact mounded habit growing 1 to 1.5 ft. in height and spread and is reputed to have good resistance to powdery mildew. U.S. Plant Patent PP18,196 issued on November 7, 2007.

Problems

Phlox is not always an easy plant to grow well. Phlox bugs, powdery mildew and root rot can be serious problems. Spider mites can also be a problem, particularly in hot, dry conditions. Taller stems may need staking.

Garden Uses

Garden phlox is a staple of the perennial border. Mixes well with other perennials and provides long summer bloom. Regardless of flower color, garden phlox is attractive to hummingbirds and is a good selection for inclusion in a bird garden.