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A Mildew-Resistant Phlox With White Flowers

'Backlight' phlox, a cultivar of the North American native Phlox paniculata, resist the powdery mildew that often infects this popular border perennial. In addition to its clean dark green leaves, it offers pure white flowers that appear in profusion over a long bloom time, beginning in midsummer.


Common name: 'Backlight' border phlox

Botanical name: Phlox paniculata ‘Backlight’

Exposure: Full sun

Flowers: Panicles of pristine white five-petaled flowers appear from mid- to late summer at the top of this perennial's upright stems.

Foliage: Long, narrow leaves line the stems. Their dark green color is a nice contrast to the bright white flowers. The foliage is resistant to powdery mildew.

Habit: 'Backlight' phlox is an herbaceous perennial that reaches 30 inches tall and 2 feet wide, with a strong upright stance. 

Origin: The species Phlox paniculata is native to open woods and meadows of the United States' Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Upper South and Lower Midwest regions. 'Backlight' is a cultivar introduced to the garden trade by Proven Winners and Walters Gardens in 2022, as a part of their Luminary series of tall phlox.

How to grow it: Although it is mildew resistant, ‘Backlight’ should still be provided with good air circulation, full sun and regular watering—all safeguards against powdery mildew and the preferred conditions of the species. Regular feeding will also keep it performing at its best. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage rebloom. USDA Zones 3–8. 

Image courtesy of Walters Gardens