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