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“Eva Cullum” Summer Phlox (c) Cheryl Shanahan

I was looking for another summer flower to love (thank you, prior owner for leaving me with a garden devoid of any blooms past Easter…as long as Easter fell EARLY). I think I started noticing summer phlox during my annual trek up to the lake in N.H., but what sealed the deal was seeing a wagon full of these, set out in the blazing sun at one of my nursery haunts.

Phlox paniculata sends up lovely panicles of flowers mid-summer through early fall. This pretty perennial attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and it comes in lots of lovely shades of pink. It’s prone to powdery mildew, so set it in an area that gets good air circulation. I chose “Eva Cullum” because it is mildew-resistant.

I’m hypocritical if nothing else, and I failed to follow my own advice and originally planted this in a slightly shady area near shrubs and trees. Guess what? I got small, bent-over flowers with mildew on them. Go figure. I transplanted them last fall, and they are MUCH happier in their new home.

Companion plants? My phlox is parked next to a big swath of echinacea and daylilies. Daisies and black-eyed susan are nearby.

What Summer Phlox Likes:

  • Full sun (shade decreases blooms and increases your likelihood for disease)
  • To be planted AWAY from trees and shrubs
  • To have its crowns planted about 1″ below the soil surface
  • To be fertilized before blooming (uh, something I have never done. Whoops!)
  • To be watered at the base. Keeping the leaves/flowers dry will minimize your powdery mildew risk
  • To be deadheaded before they drop seed. Unless you WANT seedlings.
  • To be divided every 3-4 years
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