Plant DetailShow Menu

Phlox paniculata

Phonetic Spelling
FLOKS pan-ik-yoo-LAY-tah
Description

Summer Phlox is an erect herbaceous perennial that may grow 2 to 4 feet tall and is clump-forming and puberulent. The leaves are alternate with a smooth margin. Purplish pink, sometimes variable colored, flowers first mature in mid-summer and continue into mid-fall.

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.  Tall phlox is one of the best-loved garden flowers. 

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.

Garden phlox grow in moderately fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. It does its best in full sun. It prefers rich, moist, organic soils. It also prefers moderate summer temperatures over the heat and humidity of the deep South. It blooms in the summer through early fall and requires a high level of maintenance, requiring regular mildew-preventative spraying although some cultivars are resistant. It requires abundant fertilizer and water in summer for optimal flowering. This plant prefers sun to partial shade and moist, fertile, and well-drained soils. This plant 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. It 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 the bloom period and to prevent unwanted self-seeding (cultivars generally do not come true from seed). This plant has numerous pest and disease problems.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant 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.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Erect herb with numerous, opposite, narrow leaves
  • Inflorescence much-branched, many-flowered
  • Flowers salverform, anthocyanin pigmented
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Delta Snow'
    White flowers with a soft pink center
  • 'Lord Clayton'
    Bright magenta-red flowers
Tags:
#bees#purple#fragrant#hummingbirds#white#butterflies#pink#sun#partial shade#summer#blue#perennial#herbs#wildlife plant#wildflowers#showy#fall interest#cpp#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#native garden#fire resistant#borders#native wildflower#fantz#hummingbird
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Delta Snow'
    White flowers with a soft pink center
  • 'Lord Clayton'
    Bright magenta-red flowers
Tags:
#bees#purple#fragrant#hummingbirds#white#butterflies#pink#sun#partial shade#summer#blue#perennial#herbs#wildlife plant#wildflowers#showy#fall interest#cpp#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#native garden#fire resistant#borders#native wildflower#fantz#hummingbird
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Phlox
    Species:
    paniculata
    Family:
    Polemoniaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern United States
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    It attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape. This plant has little resistance to damage from deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Garden phlox has fragrant, tubular, pink-purple, blue to lavender to purple to white florets (to 3/4” diameter) that 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. Calyx is tubular, ribbied, has 5 lobes, and is subulate. Corolla is salverform and 5-lobed.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Garden phlox 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, acute, cuneate, simple, pointed, elliptic, deep green leaves (to 4-6" long). The leaves are ovate to elliptic to lanceolate (shaped like the head of a lance). The veins branch off the center vein then curve toward the tip of the leaf near the edge and connect with the next vein, forming what appears to be a vein along the edge of the leaf. Upper leaves are subsessile to clasping.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are stiff and erect.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Fire