The many varieties of phlox brighten home gardens. Originating in the wild in the eastern United States, this flowering plant is also known as garden phlox, fall phlox, summer phlox, tall phlox and perennial phlox. Ranging in color from white to purple, many hybrid varieties have been developed in the past 50 years, making phlox a versatile and easy to grow annual ornamental for all climates.
Wild Blue Phlox
Phlox divaricata is a native species that occurs from Minnesota to western Vermont in the north and Louisiana to Georgia in the south. It is sometimes called Louisiana phlox, sweet William and blue woodland phlox. It grows to only 18 inches tall and blooms with fragrant white to lavender flowers in spring. Izel Plants suggests planting this phlox in rock gardens or borders that are in partial shade. It also makes a good ground cover for shady areas. If you live in an area where the summers are relatively cool, such as the Pacific Northwest, this phlox can tolerate more sun. Many phlox varieties can fall victim to the fungal disease known as powdery mildew, so Izel Plants recommends growing it in an area that has good air circulation and not allowing the plants to become crowded.
Also called the thickleaf phlox and Bill Baker phlox, this wildflower grows in all of Texas east to Florida and as far north as Illinois and Indiana, according to the USDA Plants Database, which also reports that it is an endangered species. Sporting lavender flowers, this plant flowers from May to June in low elevation woods and open hillsides that have moist soil. The website Missouri Plants reports that it is rare in that state, and is only known to exist in two counties in the southern part of this state.
Garden Phlox “Andre”
Phlox paniculata “Andre” is a hybrid species with bluish-violet flowers that has been bred to resist powdery mildew. This makes it a carefree choice for gardeners who don’t want to lose their plants to fungal diseases. It grows to nearly 3 feet in height and sprouts “ice pink” flowers in late spring, according to the Petitti Garden Center website. They also report that this phlox has attractive leaves, which are silver-gray with pewter colored veins and dark red undersides.
Creme de Menthe
Dayton Nursery describes this variety of garden phlox as having variegated leaves and white-pink flowers with a deep pink center. It is a hybrid variety that has been bred to resist fungal diseases such as powdery mildew. It blooms from July through September, later in the season than other phlox varieties. Heronswood Nursery reports that Creme de Menthe remains upright without the need for staking.