Hi! I bought four garden phlox from Hewitt’s a couple of weeks ago. Two were the premium First Edition “Grape Lollipop”. Those had one or two stems that were completely dead, but as they were your last I bought them assuming I could clip them out and the plants would do fine. They didn’t. All of the remaining stems and the leavesaleaves on them turned brown- even those that had small groups of flower buds- and died in quick order. I cut them down to the ground and they were hard and woody and very dead.
The other two plants- pink with white eye, I’ve forgotten the brand- are browning up nicely as well.
All of phlox that were pre-existing in my garden are healthy, with no mildew or mites (which I’ve not seen on the ones I bought from Hewitt’s, either, so not that). Is this something viral? Should I dig them out and chuck them and consider it $70 poorly spent? I’ve not done so because I really want them to come back, but I’m afraid whatever they have will spread to an otherwise healthy garden. Help!
It sounds to me like it is from the stress of flowering in the pot. Phlox often go downhill post bloom and flowing while confined in a small pots adds to the stress. I’d suggest bringing some of the leaves intopthe garden center and have thm take a look to see if it might be something else. I’d cut them back and see how they do.