Phlox paniculata 'Becky Towe' closeup

Phlox paniculata ‘Becky Towe’
(FLOX pah-nik-yew-LAY-tah)
Family: Polemoniaceae

Common name: garden phlox; summer phlox
Zone: 3 – 8
Height: 24-30 in (60-75cm) Spread: 18-24 in (45-60cm)
Aspect: full sun; partial shade
Soil: fertile; moist; well-draining
Water: regular

Description: An herbaceous perennial with an upright, slightly spreading habit. Oblong, variegated green leaves edged with a wide swath of deep straw yellow which fades slightly to buttery yellow when plant is in bloom. Panicles of salmon-rose-pink flowers with a deep rose-pink eye appear in summer through into autumn.


Special Notes: Native to North America. Newly emerging leaves are tipped with burgundy-red in spring. 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: ‘Becky Towe’ is a particular favourite when its new shoots start appearing in spring for their deep burgundy-red tips. Come summer, I am not so fond of the salmony-rose-pink flowers. To my eye, the colour unfortunately clashes with the particular shade of yellow on the leaf margins. But this is John’s plant…in his garden…so it is “hands off” for me. Personally, I would cut off the blooms and just have the plant for its lovely variegation.

Also of note, ‘Becky Towe’ proved to suffer significantly from fusarium stem rot during the 2001-2009 phlox trial at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. This earned the plant a lowly ‘2 Star’ rating from the judges. We are very pleased to report that our ‘Becky Towe’ has never suffered from this debilitating disease in our garden…nor has it ever been hit with powdery mildew since introducing this plant into our landscape design. We speculate this may be due to the lack of humidity in our more northern climate that has kept our ‘Becky Towe’ so healthy. It could also be due, in part, to the prevailing SE winds that caress John’s garden on a regular basis.


Updated on April 1, 2013