Photo: Himanshu Sarpotdar
Many Native American flowering plants were not cultivated in gardens, here, until they were reintroduced from Europe.
The summer flowering perennial pholox (phlox paniculata), once growing in the wild in America, had purplish flowers, but a variety of other colors were developed and when it became popular in English gardens, American gardeners then began to appreciate it too. It has many virtues, such as a spicy perfume, reliability, and rich colors.
Some Faults Too
It also has some faults, like most of us, but fortunately these can be dealt with. Its susceptibility to powdery mildew has been addressed in some of the newer varieties, although we still need to be careful to site phlox plants in areas with good air circulation where the soil does not dry out. The avoidance of overhead watering also helps.
Phlox is also a notorious self sower, and the new plants aren’t the color of the parents. Buy the mildew resistant varieties such as “David” which is a luminous white, or “Katherine” who has white eyes on her lavender-blue blooms.
If you have friends or family member with these names, it will help you remember these varieties. Namesake plants can also be wonderful gifts for avid or potential gardeners.