August 2, 2013

Phlox paniculata, Common Purple Tall Phlox


Before we move on from our rosy summer tableau, I simply must talk about tall phlox...Phlox paniculata or Tall Summer Phlox...common phlox...an exceptional cut garden plant for the South.


Truly, the blackest of thumbs can grow this lilac clustery bloomer. It takes heat and clay, some drought, wind...and most importantly, a gardener's mid-summer apathy and malaise in stride.

Just give it full sun and lots of air circulation to prevent powdery mildew...a fungus to which it is HIGHLY susceptible.

I've been known to clip off all the blossoms in one fail swoop for a mammoth indoor arrangement...

and then cut back all the powdery stems to the ground...

to encourage new starts with fresh growth. 



I don't fret about this; I couldn't kill it if I tried...and in some areas, I occasionally do. Try, that is...but just sections of it.

At the very least I thin it out and am always happy to share. And despite its vigor...

Phlox paniculata 'Common Purple'
I wouldn't call it a thug...rather a more tempered garden bully, and 

a beautifully colored one, at that.

Sometimes I prune it back by half in late spring to early summer...

to reduce its height, encourage bushiness and delay its bloom...

the better to synchronize its show with the its other lilac-pink cousins.  

Consequently it has a period of bloom from June to August, depending on one's cultivation practices.

I like it best with its pink com padres,

but it also looks good and lives happily with

Goldsturm rudebeckia,
zinnias, salvias, sedum 'Autumn Joy', coreopsis and daisies...

perennials in my border that are enjoying our relatively mild OK summer.

Next week, perhaps we should overlay our perennial artistry with some annuals...

or move on to another color?


Stay tuned and have a great weekend, all!



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