Phlox paniculata with healthy foliage

perennialfan273(zone 5)August 21, 2013

I really like the tall phlox. But I don't like how the foliage looks ratty during the year. I want a phlox where the foliage will look nice all year (especially while it blooms). What are the best varieties for this in your experience??

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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

David, and oddly enough, David seedlings. They show up in the strangest places, in a fairly good color assortment, and seem equally healthy.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 11:20AM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Have a number of garden phlox cultivars and don't seem to have foliage problems.

Do pay attention to watering, as required, and trim and cut back plants that have bloomed in the mixed perennial beds, including to increase airflow.

Picture below August 15, 2013.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:42PM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Another picture from August 15, 2013.

Some phlox have finished flowering, most have not.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:49PM
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Ruth_MI(z5MI)

Sunnyborders,

Beautiful pictures! I love the echinops with the phlox. Is that veronicastrum behind it (the one not in bloom)?

What's the short phlox in front?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 6:27PM
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gardenweed_z6a

Here's another vote for 'David.' Mine has performed exceptionally well for a number of years. I planted other cultivars near it but those performed better this year (due, I'm assuming, to all the rain we've had) than they did in prior, dryer, growing years.

I'd never be without tall phlox for the bees & butterflies but can't say it's near the top of my list of favorite late-blooming perennials. Balloon flower tops it by a mile since it's as attractive to pollinators as the phlox and a whole lot more pleasing/carefree. The foliage stays nice all season long and it produces beaucoup seeds.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 7:05PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Pretty phloxes Sunny!

'Nora Leigh' is hands down the best Phlox paniculata cultivar I've grown so far. Not only is the variegated foliage gorgeous, but it's a vigorous grower and almost never gets ratty or mildewy foliage (maybe a stalk here and there). Course it doesn't look good in a drought, but then neither do most of the perennials.

This year the foliage on 'David' and 'Tracey's Treasure' looks pretty good, but some years it doesn't look as good.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 2:57AM
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franeli(z4 NH)

I have 3 phlox paniculatas: 'bright eyes', 'david',and 'nicky' ... all have excellent foliage and blooms.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 7:17AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Sunny, I love that first photo of your combination of phlox and echinops and a daylily? What would you call those colors that you've combined? To me they look like bright rose, purple and lavender. I don't think I have a plant that has that bright rose color and I like it with those purples.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:38AM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Thanks, Ruth.
It is; 'Fascination' already cut back.
Am finding the few named Veronicastrum cultivars I have may not bloom as long as, or as late as, the species Veronicastrum (still in bloom).

Our Echinops are very low maintenance perennials.

It's 'Coral Flame'. The other one we have, planted at the same time, is somewhat taller than that one.

Greenweed: Think garden phlox do require some maintenance for maximum attractiveness, but find balloon flowers higher maintenance, at least the way I perennial garden. They're certainly very hardy here, but the major problem (for me) is that the spent blooms (look like pods) really detract from the overall look of a blooming plant. I therefore dead-head the spent flowers. For me, the dwarf balloon plants look particularly unattractive, after the initial bloom, without deadheading.

Thanks Terrene.
Agree with everything you say in praise of 'Nora Leigh'.

Thanks Prairiemoon. The daylily is 'Chicago Apache'. I got that no name red phlox from a customer's garden. It looks quite similar to 'Starfire'.

Like your colour descriptions.

I intend to use as many perennials in mixed perennial beds as possible and let the colours fall where they may. I do deliberately add certain colours, as being less common among perennials (e.g. blue and orange).

I'd also say that particular perennials sort of colour coordinate themselves (e.g. the garden phlox, blue (more or less) through red, plus white, or the Helenium (just beginning to bloom) yellow, orange and red). To this end, I try to group different cultivars of the same perennial in a mixed bed.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 5:12PM
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wieslaw59

Phlox David is classified here in Europe as Phlox amplifolia(big leaf), not paniculata( different species). I have several varieties of Phlox amplifolia, they are generally more robust and less vulnerable to drought . Spreads more than Ph. paniculata, but the runners are relatively short. So far the colour range is restricted to different shades of pink, light lilac and white(no reds and oranges)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 6:43AM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Thank you for bringing Phlox amplifolia up, Wieslaw.

Read what you said; also further description on Staudengärtnerei Gaissmayer site (admittedly in translation).

As you say there is disagreement on how to classify Phlox 'David', though I note, from the distribution USDA maps, that Phlox paniculata and the less widely distributed P. amplifolia are both native to the area where 'David' was discovered.

The apparently longer bloom time of P. amplifolia is what particularly impressed me.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 3:11PM
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debstuart1(z4NH)

I have tons of colors of phlox, a few of which I have bought and planted so I know what they are, but mostly they were here in the incredibly overgrown garden I inherited - they seem to be every shade from a rather insipid pale violet to lovely rose to white with a light veining of purple to some true purples! I actually put on freecycle that people could come and take some phlox because it's now in places I don't want it.

My question is - how do you get those nice fat heads? Mine are pretty, but very few of them have those. I saw a garden recently where all phlox had fat flowerheads - I think perhaps because there were only a few stems in each group of plants. But on a couple of mine which have multiple stems there are well-developed dome shaped flowers. So I wonder if it's plants that have come from seedlings that are more sparse?

Also - I have bought two true red phlox and I have to baby them along and while they are pretty, they aren't very floriferous and they are not increasing. I also bought a deep fuchsia one which is handsome (don't remember name, lost tag) and again, it's flowers are more sparse.

One note - I rarely have foliage problems except in dry weather some lower leaves browning. I have one inherited clump which would develop mildew so I dug it up and got rid of it. But I have dozens others and no problems!

All ideas welcome!

Deborah

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 8:36PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Love the phlox pictures, and never knew there was a phlox amplifolia. Maybe that explains why some of mine have runners and others no.
Deb- check out phlox eelworm, I think they can cause the distorted flower heads you mention.
I wish I could recommend some good leaved ones but most of mine seem to hold up fairly well, it's only drought that kind of does them in. They're in a very open area which seems to help.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 10:28PM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

I started phlox gardening with no name phlox purchased from the local horticultural society spring sale and have gradually purchased and supplemented those plants with a variety of more recent named cultivars.

Have found those big old no names (to me) to be very reliable, but they need periodic division, reducing and replanting with enriched soil to stay attractive.

I'm now beginning to need to divide, etc., the named cultivars. In the case of 'Peppermint Twist', it's actually just because it spreads so rapidly in our garden.

I don't see any seeding with the newer named cultivars.

The reliable oldies above, occasionally seed, but even if the seedlings were worth keeping, division produces lots more phlox anyway.

I did have a previous experience with seeding and seedlings of the older cultivar 'White Admiral'. The plants produced were nondescript with wishy-washy pinkish flowers. I believe these represented reversions in the direction of the phlox' ancestry.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 12:28AM
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Sammywillt(NC IOWA . 4)

At the end of a hot muggy day , as the sun moves into its final position , and with the swallows dive bombing for mosquitoes Nothing , and I mean nothing , smells as good as Phlox David .

Whats weird is I had no ideal they had a scent until I gave up my 35 year smoking habit .

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:53AM
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