Phlox

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Botanical name: Phlox

Plant type: Flower

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Flower color: Red, Pink, Blue, White

Bloom time: Spring, Summer

Phlox are perennials and a favorite choice among wildflowers. These plants sport many star-shaped, colorful flowers when in bloom. Because there are so many varieties, you can find a type of phlox for almost any garden. They are easy to care for and low maintenance. Add some phlox to any bouquet for some nice fragrance.

Planting

  • Use a garden fork or tiller to prepare your garden bed. Loosen the soil to about 12 to 15 inches deep, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.
  • It is easier to grow phlox from cuttings/transplants than seeds.
  • Plant phlox in the spring and space the plants 1 to 2 feet apart. If you are moving a plant from a pot, dig a hole about twice the size of the pot's diameter and place the plant so that the top of the root ball is even with the soil's surface. Fill in around the root ball and remember to water it thoroughly.

There are three different categories for growth requirements:

  1. Woodland species (like Blue phlox and Creeping phlox) like evenly moist, humus-rich soil and full to partial sun.
  2. Low, mounding phlox (like Sand phlox and Chattahoochee) like average, well-drained, sandy or loamy soil and full sun.
  3. Border phlox (like Carolina phlox, Meadow phlox, and Garden phlox) like moist, well-drained, and average to rich soil and full to partial sun.

Care

  • If you receive less than 1 inch of rain a week, remember to regularly water your plants throughout the summer.
  • Each spring, put a thin layer of compost and a 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants to help keep the soil moist and control weeds.
  • Remember to remove the dead/faded flowers so that your plants can rebloom.
  • If you have tall phlox, cut the stems back to about 1 to 2 inches above the soil after the first killing frost. Divide tall garden phlox every 2 to 3 years to ensure healthy and disease-free plants.

Pests

  • Powdery mildew
  • Stem canker
  • Rust
  • Southern blight
  • Stem nematodes
  • Leaf spots
  • Leaf miners
  • Caterpillars

Recommended Varieties

  • Creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera), which makes a good ground cover, especially for planting under shrubs (because they like shady spots)
  • Wagon wheel (Phlox adsurgens), for its pretty salmon-pink flowers (whose petals resemble the spokes of a wheel)
  • Sternenzauber (Phlox drummondii), whose flowers are fringed and pointed, which make them look like stars

Special Features

  • Attracts Butterflies
  • Attracts Birds

Wit & Wisdom

  • Native Americans called April's full Moon the "Full Pink Moon" because it heralded the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox—one of the first spring flowers.

E-Cards

Send a free e-card of this pretty phlox. See more phlox photos in our e-card gallery.

 

 

Comments

I have hundreds of phlox on a

By Al S. on July 17

I have hundreds of phlox on a hill in my yard. Each year cars stop in the street just to look at the colors. They are very healthy and bloom every spring. But this summer they have started to grow a yellow vine that is going from plant to plant (some vines have some type of bud on them). What is this, and what should I do??

Do you live in the Southeast

By Alura on July 25

Do you live in the Southeast (Alabama, Mississippi, etc)? There is an invasive plant called lovevine that is orange and it doesn't take long to completely choke the hosts that it covers. Google some pics to help identify.

Can you reccomend a phlox

By Sandy Savoie on July 14

Can you reccomend a phlox that will grow at least 3 to 4 feet tall that grows well in Texas ?

Phlox paniculata 'Victoria'

By Almanac Staff on July 15

Phlox paniculata 'Victoria' will grow well in Texas and reaches a height of three feet.

About a month ago I planted

By Nancy B. Greenman on July 8

About a month ago I planted two phylox...miracle grow fertilizer in the hole. Watered them really well the first two weeks. About two weeks ago they both looked really great, really green leaves, buds growing, etc. Now they are both blooming. One plant still looks really green, but the other one has leaves that are turning yellow, some stalks look like they are dying. Of course, I am still watering them each day unless we get rain. I live in NJ. They get sun off and on all day and are planted right next to each other. Any ideas what could be happening to the one plant and why? thx.

I have 4 phlox plants, two

By AZ HOOSIER

I have 4 phlox plants, two that are 2yrs old and bloomed last two years. They are about3'tall, healthly looking and no buds or blooms. I live inIN. Why aren't they blooming? It is now July.

I live just west of

By Darlene H on July 19

I live just west of Bloomington, Indiana and this July 2014 I had a volunteer phlox come up by my neighbor's back privacy fence. It's around 3 ft. tall, and I sure hope it spreads. Might you need to separate yours so they bloom? Just guessing. Good luck!

I have different colours off

By Shirley Hanabusa on July 8

I have different colours off Pholx plants they have bloomed every year, this year I have healthy plants but no blooms! help

Your phlox plants may be too

By Almanac Staff on July 9

Your phlox plants may be too crowded. It's recommended to divide the plants after 2 to 3 years. Are your plants getting enough  sun?

My flox plans are big and

By Joe G

My flox plans are big and healthy, but they do not flower due to the large maple tree nearby which shades them from the morning sun. Can I transplant them to a sunny spot in the month of July (Buffalo, NY)?

I am new at this! Do I

By Ann Tutton

I am new at this! Do I deadhead the whole flower "globe" or do I just remove each petal, one at a time? I don't see the bud you referred to.

Hello there, I'm creating my

By Darlene Trudel

Hello there,

I'm creating my own backyard garden this year. I have chosen particular plants for my garden. One of those particular plants is a David Garden Phlox. Before I got it planted into my garden disaster happened. My white phlox broke off at the bottom of the stem. Is is possible to put it into a vase with water to re-route? I was hoping if I could get it re-routed then I could replant in the garden? I hate to think I killed my poor white phlox. Please advise what I can do to save it?

You can still plant your

By Almanac Staff

You can still plant your phlox. It will likely grow new stems from the roots.
You can also try to root the broken stem. Shorten the stem to about 3 to 6 inches long with 2 to 6 leaf nodes. Cut the stem with a sharp knife at an angle just below a leaf node. Remove flowers, buds and lower leaves. Plant the cutting in a pot with equal parts moist coarse sand and vermiculite or perlite. Make sure the lowest leaf node just above the surface.

I had multiple perennials

By Praz

I had multiple perennials professionally planted in a rock bed in early fall. I have the taller phlox. The came up beautifully the spring, but after awhile they almost look as if they had been nipped by frost, one stem at a time, then within a week or 2 the whole plant was affected and died. This has happened to 4 plants now. Healthy to dead in about 2 weeks. What's going on?

It's hard to tell what caused

By Almanac Staff

It's hard to tell what caused the plants to die. There are three common diseases of phlox. Oedema causes rusty blisters on leaves and petals. Parasitic nematodes (roundworms) turn foliage and stems brown and mottled. Powdery mildew creates a dusty white covering on leaves, stems and flowers.
 

I planted phlox [orange

By Anju

I planted phlox [orange perfection and Neon] in March. Now it's May 30. I don't see any thing coming from ground. I got them from Costco and I live in Northern Virginia. I noticed that the lot we moved into has lot of clay. Is the phlox dead by now?

Hi Anju, The phlox should be

By Almanac Staff

Hi Anju,
The phlox should be growing by now. Are the plants brown with now green showing? If you decide to replant amend the soil with compost and a bit of sand for better drainage.

I have the tall phlox and it

By David Klappenberger

I have the tall phlox and it always collapses and looks sloppy when it starts to flower. Id prefer not to put a wire cage around it. Is it possible to prune it before it starts to form buds?

You can cut the phlox back

By Almanac Staff

You can cut the phlox back for bushier growth. Early in the season May/early June cut about half off. If you want to experiment cut some less and some more to see how high they will grow.

I am going to be planting

By Pauline Decker

I am going to be planting Phlox for the first time this year. The spot were I am putting it is surrounding by sidewalk. When winter comes our maintenance men will be shoveling and salting the sidewalks. Will the salt effect the plants? Thanks.

Good for you! Phlox are so

By Almanac Staff

Good for you! Phlox are so pretty! A lot of this has to do with what type of phlox, where you are, and how much salt we are actually talking about, but in general most phloxes are at least moderately salt tolerant. We have about 15 feet of creeping phlox along our New Hampshire uphill (well, from the bottom) driveway, the bottom end of which is about 8 feet from the road. Over the course of the winter, we shovel and/or snow blow at least a moderate amount of road salt on the lower part of the phlox bed, and it never seems to be any the worse for wear. Give your plants some help. Make sure the bed is well drained to make it easier for any salt to leach through and not hang around. Ask the maintenance men to shovel in the other direction if there’s salt around—maybe bribe them with a muffin a month or whatever? If you foresee a period of above-freezing temps with at least some sun, you can wash salt off your phlox, too—that can be of help. Finally, consider doing a little test: Cover a small part for the winter and see if it makes any difference. Then you’ll know what to do the next year. Good luck!

I have a small, rock lined,

By Amy LaBombard

I have a small, rock lined, flower bed in the front yard..I usually plant impatiens in it but have to replant yearly. I was thinking of adding creeping phlox. Today is April 21st and I'm wondering, since I saw them in pots at my local garden center, if I plant them now will we see a lot of flowers this spring? It's been cold here. Also, I would say the flower bed is about 4ftx4ft, the pots were about 6inch pots. Don't want to over crowd and wondering how many I should pick up? thanks

deer and rabbits may eat the

By suzen

deer and rabbits may eat the phlox

Phlox is planted in the

By Almanac Staff

Phlox is planted in the spring. Whatever your space, look at one plant for every 1 to 2 feet, depending on the variety. 

BEST DAY TO PLANT PHLOX.I

By LENNIE NELSON

BEST DAY TO PLANT PHLOX.I LIVE IN FLINT MICHIGAN.ZONE 6.

It's best to plant phlox in

By Almanac Staff

It's best to plant phlox in the spring as soon as the soil is workable. As your area gets very cold in the winter, be sure to add 4 to 6 inches of mulch in the fall as the soil freezes. 

My creeping phlox have

By vLee Dunlop

My creeping phlox have bloomed beautifully for 2 Springs and I have not trimmed them. After an unusually long winter (with lots of snow), the plants all look brown and dead. The only new shoots I'm seeing are either at the ends of the long dry sections, or deep in the center. Should I cut off all the brown?

Trim back the plant(s) it

By Almanac Staff

Trim back the plant(s) it finishes flowers. Then, fertilize with a general (e.g., Miracle-Gro) fertilizer. A bit of fertilzer every year would not hurt, and some sources suggest shearing the stems one-third to one-half after flowering every year to encourage new foliage—and possibly a second flower display.

MY STEP MOTHER AND I BOTH

By SHARON MARQUEZ

MY STEP MOTHER AND I BOTH HAVE BEAUTIFUL PURPLE CREEPING PHLOX WHICH HAS BECOME DEAD LOOKING OR BARKY IN THE CENTER. IF WE CUT THEM WILL THEY FILL OUT IN THE MIDDLE AGAIN? WE LIVE IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS.

Cut out the woody stems in

By Almanac Staff

Cut out the woody stems in the middle that no longer produce flowers. Tender new stems will replace the old ones. It's a good practice to cut off any spent flowers in the summer to encourage new growth and prolonged bloom.

I bought three phlox but

By Lisa Stotler

I bought three phlox but could only keep one alive by taking it out of the ground and keeping it in a large pot. It's growing great, but I don't know what to do with it during the winter. Can I bring it in? Should I plant it now? Or should I just leave it in the pot until next spring? I can't find any information on this dilemma. Thanks

It all depends on what type

By Almanac Staff

It all depends on what type of phlox you have. Most phlox varieties are cold hardy and tolerate winter chills. Find out what kind of phlox you have and see if it is cold hardy in your zone. If the plant is doing well you can plant it in the ground in the spring.

I have beautiful phlox which

By Jeanrose

I have beautiful phlox which I did not deadhead this summer when the blooms were done; Now for the first time in all the years I have had these plants they have bloomed again, as beautifully as the first time. This seems to go against all the advice given here. What gives?

Our guess is that your phlox

By Almanac Staff

Our guess is that your phlox bloomed, went to seed and dropped the seeds in the soil. The new plants grew fast enough to start blooming before the end of the season. You can check to see if the phlox bloomed on the old stems or new stems.

Y'all keep saying phlox is a

By Graham Lawson

Y'all keep saying phlox is a perennial, then how come I keep reading about how it "comes back next year" and " . . "had plant for over 3 years", and "if your phlox does not bloom next year, do so-and-so", etc. Well I've reached the conclusion that if I cover it over with deep mulch maybe it'll stay alive through the winter and COME BACK IN THE SPRING . . . . RIGHT? ? ? ? (I'm in Colorado)

A "perennial" plant is one

By Almanac Staff

A "perennial" plant is one that grows for multiple years so, yes, it will should come back in the spring. Here is the definition: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perennial

I spent the first part of the

By Karen Hicks

I spent the first part of the summer pulling out phlox from around my house and picking the little green seeds off my cats. Is all phlox like this? It's pretty but the seeds are a pain in the butt.

To avoid this issue, just

By Almanac Staff

To avoid this issue, just deadhead your phlox before they go to seed. This is good practice (not just because of your cat); the little seedlings tend to crowd out the mother plant over time.

may phlox be annual?

By igor

may phlox be annual?

there is an annual phlox one

By suzen

there is an annual phlox one can purchase often in multi colored mix seed packs. They grow to about 12-18" tall and if trimmed of flowers going to seed will continue flowering all summer.

Phlox are perennials.

By Almanac Staff

Phlox are perennials.

Flower don't bloom had plant

By jackie Holloway

Flower don't bloom had plant for over3years did fertalizer like other suggestion and only one flower help please

Is your phlox getting enough

By Almanac Staff

Is your phlox getting enough sunlight? It needs 4 to 6 hours of DIRECT sunlight at minimum. As you mentioned, you can also fertilize. Applying Miracle-Gro one time per month should be ample. If your phlox does not bloom next year, you may want to rip it out and begin anew.

Hi, when you say remove the

By Holly Crosgrey

Hi, when you say remove the dead flowers so it will re-bloom, do you mean just pick off the dead flowers or do I cut the small flower stems that the dead flowers are on.

Deadhead the dead bloom a

By Almanac Staff

Deadhead the dead bloom a quarter-inch above the next bud. You can use a pair of snip with sharp scissors or hand pruners. 

I live in MN and planted 3

By Kelly Love

I live in MN and planted 3 creeping phlox this spring to go over a retaining wall. They aren't blooming at all and they aren't creeping. What should I do?

We live in Plano TX, have

By Susie K

We live in Plano TX, have planted two shades of lavender creeping phlox last year and early this spring but none are flowering! Any ideas on how to encourage them to flower? They get some shade in the morning and afternoon sun, and are usually watered once a day when the weather is dry. Thank you!

Sprinkle 10-10-10 fertilizer

By Almanac Staff

Sprinkle 10-10-10 fertilizer around the plants and mulch with compost or other organic mulch to keep the soil moist and weeds down.

Creeping Phlox

By Anonymous

It says phlox likes sun, but it says creeping phlox enjoys shade. Which is true?

Mowing phlox

By Anonymous

If I plant them in my yard...after they bloom can I just mow over them with the rest of the yard grass?

Phlox

By Anonymous

I planted my phlox Sunday and it was 70 degrees but today it's snowing... In late April! Is my phlox going to be ok?

yes, they are a spring

By Stacey Miller-Adams

yes, they are a spring blooming plant. Mine was all bloomed 70 degrees one week, snow the next, still perfect. Dont worry too much about them, once they start to grow they grow pretty rapidly.

I have these all over the

By Anonymous

I have these all over the yard especially by the burn pile, beautiful purple

phlox

By Anonymous

i have an one foot cutting that i have been baying all winter in a cup, i am getting ready to transplant it, how long will it take me before i know what type this is?

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