Q. What are the best phlox plants available, and the most mildew-resistant varieties?
Phlox paniculata was perhaps the most prominent plant in perennial gardens from the turn of the 20th century through the 1940s. Although phlox is native to North America, it was the Europeans who first recognized the potential in our simple magenta or white wild phloxes and who experimented with selecting, breeding, and then re-importing the improved types back to the U.S.
Although never fatal, mildew can be unsightly and may lessen flowering and cause leaf drop. Keeping plants well watered and cool appears to be the most important factor in mildew prevention.
For the most part, happy plants simply resist mildew. Stressed plants will usually develop some degree of mildew. What are the proper conditions that make them happy, healthy and mildew-free? Simply grow them in a cool location, preferably in a little shade, and in a humus-rich soil, plus at least 6 hours of sun.
Did you know that phlox's native situation is woodland, not out on the dry, open prairie? There are hundreds of Phlox varieties to choose from. You may want a fragrant Phlox, a short or tall one, or historical heirlooms, or the more mildew-resistant varieties. So here they are:
Best mildew resistance: Blue Lagoon, Blushing Shortwood, Bright Eyes, Caspian, Cinderella, David, David’s Lavender, Delta Snow (the very best), Hot September Pink, Jeana (also the very best), John Fanick, Midsummer White, Miss Lingard, Miss Universe, Natascha, Old Cellarhole, Omega, Robert Poore, Rosalinde, Russian Violet, Shortwood, White Admiral, Widar.
Fragrant phlox: Cinderella, David, Ending Blue, Fairy’s Petticoat, Franz Schubert, Katherine, Midsummer White, Mile High Pink, Miss Pepper, Miss Universe, Old Cellarhole, Russian Violet, Starfire, Widar.
Heirloom phlox cultivars--all dating from before 1950: Amethyst (by 1949), Blue Boy (by 1945), Brigadier (1940s), Caroline van den Berg (by 1945), Charles Curtis (c. 1945), Cinderella (by 1949), Europa (1910), Eventide (by 1942), Jules Sandeau (by 1934), Miss Lingard (by 1889), Newbird (by 1931), Progress (by 1944), Rijnstroom (1910), Rosalinde (1920s), Salmon Beauty (by 1945), Spitfire (by 1940), Widar (by 1931), Wilhelm Kesselring (by 1931).
Shortest and tallest phlox:
Short phlox, 3 feet or under: Anne, Aureole, Blushing Shortwood, Delilah, Fairest One, the Flame Series, Jade, Jr. Dance, Jr. Dream, Jr. Surprise, Little Boy, Little Princess, Miss Lingard, Natascha, Omega, Red Riding Hood, Shorty White.
Tall phlox, 4-5 feet: Bright Eyes, Cabot Pink, David, David’s Lavender, Delta Snow, D.H. Forbes, Fairy’s Petticoat, Hot September Pink, Midsummer White, Miss Holland, Miss Universe, Mt. Fujiyama, Pink Bud, Salmon Beauty, Sherbert Cocktail, Sir John Falstaff, Spitfire, White Admiral, Widar.
Very tall phlox, 5 feet or more: Caspian, Hesperis, Kirmeslandler, Mile High Pink, Old Cellarhole, Robert Poore, Russian Violet.
What ever you choose, your garden of phlox will be a colorful delight to behold!
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service