Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, August 23, 2010

Phloxy Ladies and Gents

Phlox paniculata, monarch butterfly among the Susans (2009)

The gardener at Clay and Limestone loves other phlox besides Phlox pilosa, the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox. Really, she does! PPPP~near the end of their bloom time this summer

Long time readers can't be surprised by that admission.
Phlox is a summer favorite in many of our gardens.

It's an easy peasy kind of plant.
How could you not love a plant that is still blooming after the summer we've had!
Way back before I knew anything about gardening and way before I figured out how to garden at C&L~summer phlox reigned supreme! I discovered them the first summer after we moved here. Their pretty lilac and pink blooms caught my eye blooming among the shrubs. Luckily for the garden, I knew nothing about deadheading or pinching for more bloom and they seeded all around the yard. Today there are dozens of plantings in shade, part shade and part sun.
They may have been a named variety at one time, if so, they had reverted to the pinks and lilacs of the species. I think the color lovely and have trouble seeing it as the same "muddy magenta" I've heard folks refer to for years. Magenta, pink, lilac, it matters not to me or the many pollinators that like to visit this easy care native. I've seen bees, moths and butterflies visit all summer. I've read that hummers visit it, too. But, I've not seen them. P paniculata "Laura" with Green Dragon and Globe Spice Heuchera in the shade.

They love moist, well draining, rich soil...What they get here is shallow, dry, clay soil that's been amended with compost, leaf mold and mulch. I do give them a nice big drink every week and that keeps them happy. Garden phlox is naturally occurring in the cooler eastern half of North America. If you can keep it moist with decent drainage; I think you can grow it most of your gardens (hardiness zones 3 to 8). The biggest problem I have had with phlox has been an attack of Phlox Bug~a nasty creature that sucks the plant juices and disfigures the plant. I cut the plant back after the first frost and trash the stalks....never composting them. Phlox bug over winters in the stalks and this takes care of most of them. You can read about my battle with them here.

Phlox glaberrima summer 2010

Earlier this summer P glaberrima came to live in the garden. This phlox needs the soil to be consistently moist. It's planted near a downspout, with a daily watered container very near it so that water drains onto the phlox roots. I love my phloxy.

I like to mix Phlox paniculata with native stokesia and daylilies in the sunnier Susan's bed (seen earlier this summer).

The soil is shallow there and I have to be diligent and water it once a week or they decline.

Most summers I don't deadhead them.
The result is a lovely mixture of pretty pinkish phlox
scattered here and there where ever they chance to set seed.

Isn't she lovely?
Not magenta at all!
We aren't sure which plants are the parents,
but, gladly welcome her sibling anywhere they want to grow.
Could it be P paniculata 'David'
Or, P paniculata 'Laura'?

We may never know, but as long as bees visit
and I let them seed about

C&L will have plenty of pretty pink Phlox

I'm so glad you stopped by, I've sure missed visiting with you....It won't be long before we can sit on the porch and have a nice long talk. It's just a tad too hot and humid right now.


  1. You certainly have a phlox paradise. Thanks for all the info on the plant and its pests.

  2. Hi Gail, My phlox paniculatas are doing quite well too considering the dry soil they're forced to contend with, poor things. David has got to be the most prolific and I'm wondering if I might have a thug on my hands... I know, bite my tongue. So far it's okay but if he keeps this pace I'll have a sprawling monoculture for sure.

  3. I love all your phloxy ladies...and gents, Gail! Last year was the year I admired everyone's daylilies and decided I must have more of them. This summer it's the phlox--I definitely need to add some of these for some summer color.

    There's a breeze this morning--could it be fall is in the air? Let's hope so.

  4. The weather this morning is perfect! I just took the oldest to the bus stop and really enjoyed the cool morning - fall is getting closer! Our phlox isn't doing much right now but yours looks great. It did well in the spring and early summer though.

  5. Gail, you're making me want more Phlox in my garden! I bought Phlox glabberima 'Triple Play', a variegated variety, and it did really well up until a month ago. That's when the rains stopped coming regularly so I have a feeling that's my answer as to why it's failing. I'm going to dig it right now and pot it up so I can water it more regularly.

  6. Hi Gail! I like how your phlox mixes with other plants! And the variety of phlox is very impressive! My Phlox paniculata managed to spread and doing good when deers are not around.

  7. The older varieties of Phlox seem to do well here but the newer fancy ones don't. It may be that they need more sun than my garden has to offer. Plus I don't water them much if any. My PPPP start from you is looking quite healthy. I can't wait until it actually blooms. I will probably have to wait until next spring. I am glad you are back.

  8. You know Gail, when I look at Phloxes, i very often start thinking about you!

  9. Hi Gail. One of my favorites in the garden too. This summer I have really been fighting the mildew on them but I love them anyway.The fragrance of some of them are so amazing. Great images.

  10. The phlox transplanted from Dakota in Nashville are thriving here in the woods of Robertson County.
    They have been moved from home to home.
    Beautiful pictures -
    If you have time click on my picture of a butterfly on my phlox
    here in the woods.

  11. I like the David, white phlox, just because I don't see them much. I hope I remember this in the spring because your phlox garden is beautiful. And I want to plant some.

  12. What a lovely bunch of Phloxys, Gail. They help keep the garden looking fruitful until the asters kick in. I believe the color of the species, which most seedlings revert to is wonderful. So do the butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. I would follow their tastes over those of mere humans anyday. :-)

  13. If you have a lot of sun, yes, it's easy peasy. In my garden, not so super much.

  14. They are very easy here. I think the clay soil helps them stay moist through the dry parts of our summer. I enjoy the self-sown seedlings, too.

  15. It is more than a "tad" hot here--more like the Death Star is never relenting. Sorry I sound so testy, but I want to be out in the garden. With temps hovering around 104 with a heat index of 109-111 I am cranky! I want it to be Fall with cool crisp mornings and a soft warm glow in the afternoon instead of Mars-like. Thank goodness for posts like Phloxy Lady to help ease my gardening dry-spell. Your ladies are all beautiful with not one whit of muddiness that I can tell. I love their delicate colors.

  16. Hi Gail....I was caught by the bug and added plox to my garden this year. The pretty flowers attracted honey bees, so that was a joy.

    I hope that my three plants will increase with time.

    I love the pretty colours you have....who could not fail to delight in them.

  17. That delicate colour in the bottom photo is just outstanding! I'll have a yard full of those, please. :)

  18. The phlox in this post are especially pretty. The colors are very vibrant. I was smitten until I came to the pure white and then the purple/white right after. LOVELY!!!

  19. I'm a Phlox abuser - I don't mulch mine, and they don't get supplemental water. I do deadhead, but that's just a personal quirk. They are tougher than their looks would suggest, and I just love the scent from a large stand of them. And what's wrong with magenta?

  20. I have the bright pink ones, but love the pale best.

  21. I have a lot of pink which I very much take for granted but you make me wonder whether I should experiment!

  22. I have been loving phloxes too lately...they're doing great this year despite all the heat and unpredictable rains.

  23. A lovely collection of Phlox Gail. I love the last shot ... soft sweet pink suits me. Great shot of the Monarch! I hope your days get cooler soon. ;>)

  24. Thanks for the pictures and post on phlox. I have 'David' and the generic purple/pink. You've made me appreciate them more at this time of year when so much in bloom is in the golden/yellow family. Their pastels and whites lighten me up.

  25. Beautiful and fresh for this time of year. Love all the phlox colors.

  26. I love garden phlox. Especially the old fashioned four and a half footer with the fragrance. Even the rather banal pinky purple color is welcome. It was in my grandmother's garden and never fails to remind me of her.

  27. Love that title, very creative use of words. And those phlox, beautiful, so pink, and purply, and white.

    We do grow them here, but have a great time managing the mildew. David is supposed to be mildew resistant, but I am not totally sure he is around here.


  28. Yes, all indeed lovely, dear Gail. A very happy post :)

  29. From yours and others recommendations, I finally put a phlox in this summer. I don't know why I waited so long.

  30. So we can call you "Phloxy Lady?" ;-) Nice post. I've been out of contact for quite some time, myself. Still not back into the swing of things. That's okay, though. It will soon be time for cooler weather (yea!) and lots more time for gardening. :-)

  31. All your phloxies look pretty to me. They are perfect in your garden and how nice they do so well for you. It's especially convenient they do well in shade, part shade and part sun.

  32. Definitely "your" plant! I will never see them and not think of you. All your photos are so gorgeous too.

  33. Gail I don't grow phlox paniculata - I had problems a few years ago with a virus in the stock so I got rid of the lot......... I really miss them and I admire on beautiful clump in someone's garden each day as I go to work.

    I'm hoping to introduce some again into another part of the garden next year and its interesting to hear that they do like a clay type soil as I have plenty of that.

    Its been lovely seeing their cheerful little faces this morning - sun is shining here this morning - been ages since I think I've seen the sun as its been so wet here...... I've got my post up for Wildflower Wednesday..... I hope its today! ) Rosie

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  35. Quite sure I can't compete with that comment from Nepal, but I do love this post. I felt like I was walking through Grandmother's Old Fashioned Garden, a lovely place to be. I haven't grown phlox for some time, you've inspired me to give it a try... on the list for next year's changes. I do remember the smell is heavenly.


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson