Another great phlox: ‘Schiaperelli’

There are recurring themes developing on this blog and one of them is my evident love of annual phlox. It seems I am not alone because one of the most viewed posts is about the lovely ‘Moody Blues’. I am being true to my feelings and growing this again this year, but this time in combination with isotoma and white nicotiana – I will show you when they are all a bit bigger.

But now it is time to turn the spotlight on another form of Phlox drummondii, the unfortunately named ‘Schiaperelli’. I say unfortunate only because if you deliberately wanted a plant to sink into obscurity you give it a name that is unpronounceable and hard to spell or remember.

* for evidence of my ignorance in sartorial matters

One of the reasons I like this North American annual is that it is fairly easy to grow and quite quick to flower but then builds throughout summer and usually keeps on blooming till the frost. Sow the seeds in March in gentle heat, transplant them into trays or cell trays and grow on in a frost free place and finally plant out (in the UK and Ireland) in late May where they are to bloom. Slugs and snails are very fond of them so protect the plants when young.

‘Schiaperelli’ is only available from Suttons Seeds ** and is a remarkable vivid cerise. I have not seen much variation in the flower colour and it is striking in the extreme. The plants are low and bushy and I have used them in the open ground but also in containers.

Phlox drummondii Schiaperelli

I had originally planned something special for the garden urns but in the end they got planted in a rush with a general red theme with a begonia, scented pelargonium ‘Scarlet Pet’, red diascia and several of these phlox. Although the phlox is a bit on the blue/pink side of the spectrum and you could argue that it clashes a bit I am generally happy with the result because all the plants support each other and none are shown up by the others.

Phlox drummondii Schiaperelli2

If you need a brilliantly bright, easily grown annual to bring some zing to your garden this is certainly one to try.


Geoff’s rating 9/10

Garden ratingΒ  9/10

* Being the uncultured Anglo-Saxon idiot that I am I had no idea what Schiaperelli was. Then I had a brain wave – Google it!

So – paraphrased from wikipedia:

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973) was an Italian fashion designer. Along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars. Starting with knitwear, Schiaparelli’s designs were heavily influenced by Surrealists like her collaborators Salvador Dali and Alberto Giacometti. Her clients included the heiress Daisy Fellowes and actress Mae West.

Schiaparelli’s perfumes were noted for their unusual packaging and bottles. Her best-known perfume was “Shocking!” (1936), contained in a bottle in the shape of a woman’s torso. The packaging, was in shocking pink, one of Schiaparelli’s signature colour.

Suddenly it all makesΒ  sense!


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4 Comments on “Another great phlox: ‘Schiaperelli’”

  1. thelonggardenpath
    July 22, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    I made a fascinating discovery last year – well, fascinating for me anyway! I discovered an article in “The Garden ” , about a small garden that had just been completed in my old home town. It was commemorating the five Forfar Botanists, which, up until that time, were unknown to me. Their names, I recognised, but had not realised they were local lads. Two of them were brothers, James and Thomas Drummond, and it was Thomas that went to North America, exploring first the Rockies, and subsequently, the Southern States. Unfortunately, while in Cuba on this latter expedition, he died of fever. Seeds he discovered were returned to William Hooker, who had funded the trip. They were grown on, and Hooker named them Phlox drummondii in his memory. A bit of background history! (Hope I haven’t bored you! πŸ˜‰ )

    • thebikinggardener
      July 22, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

      Thanks for that. I knew a bit about Thomas Drummond but didnt know about James.The plant is a fitting tribute and will ensure his name is known for years to come. I always think Forfar is such a great name – memories of my childhood listening to the football results. Its just a shame there were not just four Forfar botanists πŸ™‚

  2. thelonggardenpath
    July 22, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    Lol! Four botanists from Forfar and five from East Fife maybe? πŸ˜‰

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