Phlox

 

Phlox are one of those hardy perennials that every gardener should include in their armoury.  Available in a range of sizes - depending on the species or variety - they can be suited to many different situations in the garden. Bee friendly, they are excellent for encouraging wildlife into the garden.

 

Phlox paniculata

Probably the most well-known, Phlox paniculata cultivars are proud stalwarts of the mid-summer border. Their origins lie in the native Phlox paniculata of North America, which in the wild can sometimes reach heights of up to 1.8m.  Plant breeding has meant that they are now available in a more compact form, with most reaching a maximum of 1.2m.  

Most usefully, they are available in a wide range of colours to suit any colour theme. For example Phlox paniculata ‘Starfire’ with its dark stems, deep green foliage emerging with a red flush and contrasting vibrant crimson flowers, will brighten up your borders offering a bold splash of colour.  Whereas, Phlox paniculata ‘Norah Leigh’ has variegated leaves that are dark green with a yellow margin, and lilac mauve flowers offering a cooler colour alternative. 


Phlox paniculata ‘Norah Leigh’

 

Phlox divaricata

Phlox divaricata, sometimes known as woodland phlox, is a North American woodland native that flowers in mid to late spring.  Due to their compact habit, cultivars are ideally suited to a semi shaded woodland area or as underplanting for deciduous shrubs and roses.  

Their pale coloured flowers mean they are perfect for lighting up shaded areas of the garden. Phlox divaricata subsp. Laphamii ‘Chattahoochee’ is a firm favourite at the nursery due to its scent and delightful colour combination of deep-lilac blue flowers with a magenta centre.  It combines beautifully with Semiaquilegia ecalcarata  

Phlox White Perfume, ‘Clouds of Perfume’ and ‘May Breeze', as their names suggest, are all highly fragrant and have been known to stop visitors to the nursery in their tracks, enquiring what that delicious scent is. 

Phlox divaricata ‘May Breeze'

 

Phlox maculata  

Phlox maculata is commonly called meadow phlox and again is native to North America but this time found in moist meadows, low woods and riverbanks.  This means they are intolerant of dry soil but will grow well if regularly mulched to maintain moisture retentive, humus rich soil in sun or part shade.  

Summer flowering - generally a little earlier than Phlox paniculata - they are ideal for the middle of the border. Ranging in flower colour, from lilac-pink of Phlox maculata ‘Alpha to pink and white striped single flowers of Phlox maculata ‘Natascha’, they are perfect for introducing colour to lift shadier areas of the garden. 

 Phlox maculata ‘Natascha’

 

Top Planting Tips

All Phlox need reasonably good soil that doesn’t become too dry in summer.  Add plenty of organic matter, such as SylvaGrow peat free compost, when planting to ensure soil remains moist but free draining.  Applying a mulch in spring and autumn will also help maintain soil moisture and boost its fertility.

Phlox prefer a position in sun or part-shade.  Perhaps consider planting near to an entrance or seating area to enjoy their fantastic fragrance.  Autumn is a great time to plant, whilst the soil is warm and there is the likelihood of rain. 

For more information about the varieties available at Hardy’s, why not visit our website or pop into the nursery.