Phlox paniculata ‘Nora Leigh’
Common name: garden phlox; summer phlox
Description: An herbaceous perennial with an upright, slightly spreading habit. Oblong green leaves are irregularly edged in a wide swath of creamy white. Panicles of very pale pink, almost white flowers with a darker pink eye appear in summer through into autumn.
Special Notes: Native to North America. Attracts bees and butterflies. Good cut flower. Few pests or diseases, but watch for powdery mildew and spider mites. Not deer or rabbit resistant. Propagate by cuttings in June; division in spring or autumn.
In our Zone 7a garden: This phlox is in my front garden and I much prefer the shade of pink flowers with this plant’s particular variegation over the bloom colour of Phlox paniculata ‘Becky Towe’. THe only bloom removal I do is cutting off the spent flowers. ‘Nora Leigh’ also scored higher than ‘Becky Towe’ in the 2001-2009 phlox trials at the Chicago Botanical Gardens, receiving a ‘3.5 Star’ rating from the judges…mainly because ‘Nora Leigh’ did not suffer from fusarium stem rot disease during the trial, as ‘Becky Towe’ did. Having said that, we find the variegation is not as strong in ‘Nora Leigh’ as it is in ‘Becky Towe’. Every season there are a few ‘Nora Leigh’ stems coming from the roots that have all green leaves. Nowhere in the 10-page Chicago Botanical Gardens phlox trial report was this fact mentioned which leads me to wonder whether I possibly have a “weaker plant”…even though its growth habit is rigorous enough. Hard to know. But I keep the reverting stems on my ‘Nora Leigh’ in check by removing them as they appear. This also helps me to keep the whole plant in check…overall. It does have a slowly creeping habit after all.
Posted on April 1, 2013