On The Garden Path: Volcano Pholox Series
Volcano™ is a series of perennial phlox that are compact, sturdy, exceptionally floriferous and extremely tolerant of the powdery mildew that plagues and defoliates many other phlox varieties.
The Volcano series was first introduced in 2004 in four colors: Red, White, Pink with White Eye, and Purple with White Eye. In 2006, Pink with Red Eye was introduced, and earlier this year, Volcano Ruby was introduced. All of the colors are fragrant, and additional colors will follow.
Volcano phlox are prized by gardeners for their dense, upright, multi-branched form, with up to 15 to 30 sturdy stems by the second season. The plants are low growing cultivars of Phlox paniculata, reaching 24 to 40 inches tall depending on conditions. Unlike most other phlox – which can reach 5 feet tall and are notorious for flopping over if not staked – Volcano’s sturdy, multi-branched stems tend to keep the flowers upright for beautiful display all season long.
The exceptional mildew tolerance of Volcano allows them to be grown in warmer climates than most other phlox varieties. They are hardy in zones 4 through 10, but should be planted in partial to full shade in very warm zones.
They are ideal for planting in beds, borders and containers, and they are excellent for commercial landscapes.
These plants are extremely tolerant of (but not impervious to) mildew. In most cases where mildew is a problem, the plant may exhibit mildew, but not defoliate or be otherwise adversely affected. All phlox will tolerate moderately dry conditions, but will perform best when watered well.
Even mildew-resistant plants benefit from good gardening practices that discourage mildew development. Watering in the morning, at the base of plants, with a soaker hose is encouraged. Like other phlox, mites and thrip may affect the Volcano varieties, particularly when under stress.
Plant Volcano phlox 12 to 18 inches apart to encourage good air circulation. In spring, use a slow-release, balanced flowering plant food. Like all phlox, Volcano can benefit from division every three to five years, or when the plant loses vigor or the center of the clump starts to die. For best results, divide plants in early spring.
Volcano phlox are available at garden centers and national garden retailers coast to coast from the middle of spring through summer, or by mail-order from Willow Creek Gardens at www.WillowCreekGardens.com.
Anthony Tesselaar Plants USA, Inc. is an international marketer of exclusive, high-quality plants selected for superlative performance, easier-care attributes, big color and long bloom seasons. For more information, visit www.Tesselaar.com.
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