Do you have talents that people just don't know about? Perhaps you are afraid to share, haven't found the right time, or maybe you just don't feel like it isn't that much of a talent. You are probably wondering where this is headed... If this is you then you are relatable to Phlox 'Triple Play'. This perennial has been out for quite a few years yet you don't hear much about it. So I'm going to add excitement where excitement is due.
Let's start in the early spring when the variegated foliage still has it's rosy hue from the cold winter months behind it. Yes, 'Triple Play' stays evergreen or ever"variegated", as a basal clump, about 3"-4" tall all winter, and is a great companion for breaking up winter pansies. Then, as the weather warms the planting comes alive, sending up blooming stalks that are even heavier variegated than the basal clump. The blooms emerge in late spring to early summer(varies with climate) and are the perfect shade of lavender to compliment the light colors in the foliage. The butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees appreciate the nectar the plants produce at this time. You'd think I'd be done here, but it stays in bloom for about four to six weeks and then the blooming stalks remain attractive until about mid-August, but only the top four to six inches dies back. You can trim with hedge trimmers or pruners if you want, but honestly it doesn't look that bad if you just leave them. As, I am writing this our plants in the garden still haven't been trimmed(see picture below). I will trim them back soon though because I prefer the look of the shorter basal clump throughout the winter. This plant is an all seasons performer.
Phlox 'Triple Play', prefers well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter and in a full sun to partial shade location. A light application of a granular fertilizer(I prefer organic) in mid-summer is helpful for increasing the basal clump; if larger plants are acquired. Also, another dose of granular fertilizer, in early spring, that is higher in potassium will enhance the floral display. Go easy on nitrogen with these plants as it leads to weak stem grow and the flowering stalks fall over. I don't recommend liquid feed unless the soil is so poor they aren't growing. For these instances fish emulsion or compost tea are good choices. I always stay with organic nutrient sources because they persist longer and slowly feed the plants. If you have another favorite fertilizer by all means use what works for your particular soil.
In conclusion, 'Triple Play' is a superb phlox for the human eye. It offers color all year long and is easy to care for. During the spring bloom season the butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds flock to these plants. So while the landscape benefits are awesome you aren't being completely selfish in adding this to your garden because of the charity you are providing the wildlife.
Happy Gardening and God Bless,
Purchase online: Phlox 'Triple Play'