Here’s the long and the short about phlox: There are two basic kinds and while they come from the same genus, they are very different. Creeping phlox (technically it is Phlox subulata) is a groundcover that blooms in spring. It’s one of the earliest perennials to bloom in Minnesota, and is a bright spot in the spring landscape. Creeping phlox looks beautiful tumbling over stone in a rock garden or brightening up a corner near the street.
What’s blooming now is garden phlox or tall phlox (Phlox paniculata), which unfortunately is more known for its tendency to develop powdery mildew on its lower leaves than it is for its puffy summer blooms. Phlox do best with lots of moisture, which may be why they look so good this year. I’ve also noticed less powdery mildew than usual on my phlox. Many designers recommend putting a short plant in front of phlox to avoid having to look at its mildewy stems.
One of the best cultivars for northern gardens is ‘David’ a white phlox that is striking in the middle of any garden border.
Do you grow phlox? Tall or short?