aka Summer Phlox
"The mellow air was pink and clear,
with pink phlox sentinel in the dusk
& in the far blue-arching sky
one sharp star standing white & near."
-Jane Tyson Clement
One of our garden phloxes is called 'Mrs. Pepper' or as often 'Miss Pepper.' It grows behind 'Hill's Bright Red' dwarf azalea near a weeping green beech. This is a moist area with rich humusy soil, so that 'Mrs. Pepper' rarely experiences droughty conditions.
'Mrs. Pepper' after three years in the garden was almost as large as another phlox, 'David,' which is growing in a droughtier & shadier spot, where it gets five feet & a remains lanky. 'Mrs. Pepper' matured to a four-foot-tall clump, more compact in fuller sun, thickening into quite a broad clump, producing huge gorgeous clusters of peppermint-pink flowers with dark eyes.
The photos on this page are from July (2004 & 2003 respectively). The flowers begin in June, weeks ahead of 'David,' & increase in size & vigor through July. Blooms linger or recur long into August.
Some people claim phloxes can be a little difficult, but we've found them relatively easy. Garden phloxes are notoriously susceptible to powdery mildew, yet we've been lucky in that we've never as of yet seen it on any of our phloxes. We have gotten powdery mildew on bee balms, but not phloxes. 'Mrs. Pepper' is marketed as particularly mildew resistant.
The odds of good luck with phloxes can be increased by following a few easy maintenance methods for each clump:
1) Phloxes should not be crowded as they need air circulation through their leaves. With good air circulation the opportunity for powdery mildew to get established is greatly diminished.
2) Spent flowers should have the entire stem cut out of the clump, partly to further enhance air circulation, but also because deadheading keeping the clump blooming longer.
3) Though needing consistent moisture in loamy soil, it has to be well-draining soil, & watering is best done with soaker hoses rather than overhead watering.
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