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 August Flora Spotlight:
Garden Phlox

Garden Phlox
Phlox paniculata

Commonly called garden, summer or fall, phlox paniculata is a true North American native. It is an easy to grow perennial, great for garden color, and marvelous for cutting. Plants grow in clumps with strong stems that bear simple lance-shaped leaves. These stems are topped with clusters of fragrant, showy, flowers, each blossom rising from a narrow tube. The color range includes rose, pink, lavender, and magenta. 

Grow in full sun to partial shade. Garden phlox does best in fertile, moist but not soggy soil. It does not tolerate drought so needs to be watered in dry spells Garden phlox is susceptible to powdery mildew, so water in the morning so the foliage can dry out quickly, or better yet, just water the ground around the plant, and not the leaves. Light summer mulch helps retain soil moisture and keeps the roots cool.

Garden phlox is a very popular perennial for borders and beds. It grows to three feet and deadheading encourages constant flowering. The big heads of colorful flowers bloom from June into fall. The very fragrant flowers are a good nectar source for butterflies and hummingbirds. 

Phlox can be medicinal. Ingestion of the leaf extract produces a laxative effect and, when used topically, can treat boils.

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