Phlox: Growing Guide

Annuals and hardy perennials, profusely flowering, usually with very vivid colours.

Situation:

The annual phlox is used chiefly in summer borders, sometimes in beds, and readily available as a bedding plant. The hardy perennials are used in the rock garden , but especially in borders. To avoid mistakes in colour combinations one must study the varieties. Borders with phloxes planned by a beginner are usually a disaster, but I advise you to go on trying for the final result may be worth it. Likes sun or partial shade.

Soil:

Nutritious, friable garden soil, regularly manured. The low-growing species, in particular, should be planted in porous soil and given some protection in winter.

Propagation:

Annual phloxes are sown from late winter onwards in a warm frame; they are pricked out, hardened off and planted out in late spring. Perennial plants are usually increased by division, sometimes from cuttings.

Annuals

Phlox drummondii: Height 20-50 cm; prolonged flowering season starting 8-10 weeks after sowing, the flowers being in a variety of colours. There are also star-shaped flowers, known as ‘Cuspida’ or ‘Twinkle’. Hardy perennials

Phlox amoena: Height 15-30 cm; purple, pale-red or white flowers in late spring and early summer. A rock plant for a dry situation; in the absence of snow it should be covered in winter.

Phlox divaricata syn Phlox canadensis: Height 15-25 cm; lilac-blue to lavender-coloured flowers in late spring to mid summer. A rock plant, although it accepts somewhat damper soil.

Phlox paniculata: Height 60-125 cm; flowering season mid to late summer. This is the well known tall phlox occurring in vivid colours. There are dozens of strains varying in flowering season, in height, and especially in colour. Fortunately there are also white strains. Consult an extensive catalogue or, better still, go and see them in flower in the nursery.

Phlox stolonifera syn Phlox reptans: Height 10-20 cm; flowers as early as mid to late spring; red to purple red flowers. Provides ground-cover.

Phlox suhulata: Height 5-15 cm; an abundance of purple-pink, white or red flowers arranged in small clusters mid spring to early summer. This species is also clump-forming.

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