Phloxes paniculata are wonderful herbaceous plants bearing masses of sweetly fraganced blooms at the top of woody stems. Excellent value for money, these hardy perennials mostly native to North America will grace the garden with years of colour and cutting material whilst providing much needed nectar to bees and butterflies over the summer months. Try planting in the middle or back of the border behind low-growing plants such as heucheras, hostas, geraniums or lavenders.
Plant in moist, fertile soil in full sun or partial shade — the flower colour will be best when grown in light shade. Provide a little mulch in spring, water when dry in summer and regularly dead-head to encourage more flowers. When flowering is finished, cut down to around 2-5 cm from ground level.
Phloxes are supplied in 9 cm pots. Always unpack on arrival and store in a cool place until ready to plant.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Eelworms:these microscopic pests navigate through plant tissues and feed on cells. Leaves gradually turn yellow, distort and die back prematurely whilst growth may be stunted. Watch out for any signs of infestation and destroy any affected plant at first sight. Dispose of any deceased plant material and debris ahead of the growing season to prevent any risks of infestation.
Leaf spots:these bacterial/fungal diseases can usually be seen as sooty growths or spots on the leaves — these will progressively turn brown with a yellow margin before eventually dying. Remove and dispose of any infected leaves.
Leafy gall: this bacterial disease can cause the plant to produce masses of small, distorted shoots and leaves near the base. Destroy any contaminated host and compost/soil before thoroughly sterilising your tools.
Powdery mildews:these fungal diseases usually caused by planting in the shade or by poor air circulation can be seen in the form of white, powdery coating on the leaves. Cut off any infected material before disinfecting your scissors.