The Amazing 2024 Perennial Plant of the Year: Phlox ‘Jeana’

Photo courtesy of Mt. Cuba

               Photo courtesy of Mt. Cuba Center

Each year the Perennial Plant Assoc. designates one perennial as the “Perennial Plant of the Year”.  The 2024 pick is Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’.   The selection is based on multiple seasons of interest, low maintenance, adaptability to a wide range of climates, pest & disease resistance and ease of propagation.   There’s reason to be excited about this gem.  With a top rank in both horticultural and ecological evaluations, Phlox ‘Jeana’ is hard to beat.

Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’ was hands-down the top performer in Mt. Cuba Center’s trial…not only does it remain sturdy and disease-free all season long, but the beautiful floral display attracts more butterflies than any other phlox we have ever grown.” – George Coombs, Director of Horticulture at Mt. Cuba Center.

Let’s delve into what makes this Phlox a standout and how you can cultivate its splendor in your own garden.

What Makes ‘Jeana’ Phlox Award-Worthy?

  • Exceptional Pollinator Attraction: ‘Jeana’ Phlox boasts an irresistible allure to pollinators, including butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, making it a vital contributor to ecosystem health. It also deters deer and other pests, making it a trouble-free garden addition.
  • Extended Blooming Season: With its extended blooming period, ‘Jeana’ ensures a continuous display of delicate flowers from midsummer well into fall, adding vibrant hues to your landscape.
  • Natural Resistance to Mildew: Unlike many other Phlox varieties, ‘Jeana’ demonstrates remarkable resistance to powdery mildew, ensuring lush foliage and prolonged vitality throughout the season.
  • Sturdy Upright Habit: Its robust, upright growth habit not only provides structural integrity but also enhances visibility, making ‘Jeana’ an ideal choice for borders, beds, and cutting gardens. Size varies according to geography, but can average 3 to 5’ tall.  The foliage looks great nearly any season.
  • Versatile Landscape Applications: Whether as a focal point in a mixed perennial border or mass-planted for a stunning swath of color, ‘Jeana’ Phlox effortlessly elevates any garden setting with its elegance and charm.

Caring for Your ‘Jeana’ Phlox

  • Location and Sunlight: Choose a site with well-draining soil and full sun to partial shade exposure, ensuring at least 6 hours of sunlight daily for optimal growth and flowering.
  • Soil Preparation: Prepare the soil by amending it with organic matter such as compost to improve fertility and drainage, creating an ideal environment for ‘Jeana’ Phlox to thrive.
  • Planting: Space ‘Jeana’ Phlox plants approximately 18 to 24 inches apart to allow for adequate air circulation and future growth. Plant at the same depth as they were in the container, ensuring the crown is level with the soil surface.
  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but don’t overwater especially during the establishment phase. Once established, ‘Jeana’ Phlox exhibits moderate drought tolerance but benefits from supplemental watering during prolonged dry spells.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants to conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and maintain a consistent soil temperature.
  • Fertilization: Fertilizer is generally unnecessary for phlox, but it’s ok to fertilize in early spring with a balanced, slow release fertilizer which will promote healthy growth and abundant flowering.
  • Pruning: Deadhead spent flowers regularly to encourage continuous blooming and prevent self-seeding. In fact, to encourage faster re-blooming, cut back stems after flowering by l/2. This will maintain dense growth and attractive habit for the summer months.    Additionally, remove any damaged or diseased foliage to maintain plant health and appearance.
  • Winter Care: Cut foliage in late fall to prevent fungal diseases. Provide a layer of mulch around the base of ‘Jeana’ Phlox in late fall to insulate the roots and protect them from frost damage during winter months.

Were to Plant in Your Yard

Phlox is a garden classic that is considered by many as the backbone of summer borders.   They are perfect for mass planting and general garden use. It’s a natural in pollinator gardens.  Mix them in with other tall perennials.  Or let its handsome foliage be the backdrop for shorter companions.

If you do not have room for them in the garden, they can also be grown in pots and containers.  In fact, a pretty pot of ‘Jeana’ Phlox placed on the patio or deck will attract the butterflies and hummingbirds right to you! Surround it with smaller blooms and it will be stunning in a window box. However, you may have to water it more often.


Perennials are great.  Plant them once and they keep coming back year after year.  We urge you to cultivate this award-worth Phlox in your own garden, creating a sanctuary of natural splendor for years to come!

Whitehouse Landscaping has been designing, installing and maintaining beautiful custom landscaping in Chester, Montgomery and Berks counties for over 20 years.  Owners Sam and Ted Whitehouse enjoy creating the spaces that get people loving their outdoors.  We offer specialized designs for each of our client’s landscaping needs and feature hardscapinglandscape designoutdoor lightingfull maintenance and fertilization.  If you have any landscaping needs, contact us on our website or call 484-300-4290

Related: Did you miss the 2023 Perennial Plant of the Year? It was ‘American Gold Rush’ black-eyed Susan.