Growing Variegated Garden Phlox: Phlox paniculata 'Nora Leigh'

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Growing Variegated Garden Phlox

By 4susiesjoy
April 23, 2014

They are sometimes startling in the contrast between their leaves and flowers, but variegated cultivars of Phlox paniculata put on a bright and colorful display in the garden.

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Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
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SunnyBorders
Apr 22, 2014 9:09 PM CST
I've not seen, or tried, three of the variegated garden phlox, mentioned by Susie, and only tried two of the others ('Shockwave' and 'Harlequin') quite recently. But I've had a number of years using 'Becky Towe' and 'Nora Leigh'.

'Becky Towe' has never lasted more than three years for me, but 'Nora Leigh' has done exceptionally well. I have a number of 'Nora Leigh' plants (in several gardens) that have been going for, or for close to, ten years.

'Nora Leigh' is not a particularly vigorous grower and it's bloom is not very showy, but I find it blooms and looks attractive for an amazingly long period of time. Because it is so mildew resistant, I find it unnecessary to cut the foliage of 'Nora Leigh' down until mid or later October. Hence of all the several dozen or so different phlox cultivars in our garden, it has been the last one left standing.

Example: the same plant below.
(July 22, 2013)

Thumb of 2014-04-23/SunnyBorders/b22291

(October 15, 2013)

Thumb of 2014-04-23/SunnyBorders/83b0e5

There not much left standing and with bloom on it, in our garden, in mid October.
Below also October 15, 2013.
The most obvious colour below is the Arend's monkshood, the 'Firetail' Persicaria and the variegate 'Nora Leigh' (one of our three).
There is a small variegated 'Shockwave' in front of the monkshood, but it was only planted in the previous year.

Thumb of 2014-04-23/SunnyBorders/a491bd
[Last edited by SunnyBorders - Apr 22, 2014 9:12 PM (+)]
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Name: Susie
Leonard, Minnesota (Zone 3b)
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4susiesjoy
Apr 22, 2014 9:37 PM CST
Thanks for sharing the pictures, Charlie. Becky Towe doesn't last long for me either but it is so pretty that I'm willing to pay the price to enjoy it even if it's not for a lot of years.
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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springcolor
Apr 22, 2014 11:27 PM CST
I have had shockwave and Becky Towe for 2 or 3 years and its still going strong. I'm zone 7 thought. I will be on the look out for the others. Thanks for the added names, very informative.
Susie, thank you for using my picture in your article, that is a huge compliment!!!! Hurray!
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Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
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Onewish1
Apr 23, 2014 3:56 AM CST
I tried becky towe twice.. no good here.. gone within a year both times
Name: Susie
Leonard, Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Composter Hellebores Garden Art Irises Xeriscape Echinacea
Sedums Foliage Fan Herbs Dahlias Frogs and Toads Bee Lover
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4susiesjoy
Apr 23, 2014 4:37 AM CST
@springcolor Your Shockwave picture was so pretty. I just got mine last year as a small plant, and though it was growing good, it didn't bloom last year. I wanted to show how pretty the full plant was and your picture was a lovely example.


@Onewish1, I'm sorry you didn't have any luck with Becky Towe. I remember how disappointed I was when I bought Harlequin and it didn't do well so I understand your frustration. I've been able to buy it as a small plant at a nursery here for under $4.00 so it's kind of like buying an annual. It doesn't take long to take off and it is so colorful a lot of the summer so I thought it was worth it.
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
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springcolor
Apr 23, 2014 9:26 AM CST
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