Flowering over a long period, phlox are hardy, easy to grow and many don’t require staking. They come in a range of heights suitable for many garden situations, and bear masses of – often fragrant – blooms from mid-late summer. Their flowers come in a variety of colours, including shades of blue, purple, pink, red and white. Largely pest-free and disease-resistant, they make the perfect, low-maintenance border plants.
Most phlox cultivars are perennial. Cultivars of alpine phlox, such as Phlox subulata, thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. Those from woodland habitats, such as Phlox divaricata, need partial shade and hummus-rich soil. Those native to boggy areas, such as Phlox paniculata, require full sun and moist soil.
Discover seven great varieties of phlox, below.
Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Eye Flame’
Phlox paniculata is the most commonly grown garden phlox and the one we usually associate with the genus. In the wild, Phlox paniculata can grow to nearly 2m, and typically bears pink flowers. Years of breeding have resulted in shorter, more garden-worthy cultivars that flower in a variety of different colours. As well as being fragrant and long-flowering, most cultivars attract a variety of bees and other pollinating insects.
Phlox ‘Purple Eye Flame’ grows to a height of 40cm and has fragrant purple flowers with a white ‘eye’. It’s well suited to growing towards the front of a mixed, herbaceous border among daisies and echinaceas, or even in containers.
H x S: 40cm x 40cm
Phlox paniculata ‘Pina Colada’
Another perennial border phlox, ‘Pina Colada’ is a short-growing phlox, bearing large domed heads of pure white flowers. It’s perfect for growing in a night garden, where you can sit and enjoy its intense fragrance on summer evenings.
H x S: 75cm x 50cm
Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise’
‘Blue Paradise’ is a gorgeous border phlox, bearing fragrant, violet flowers with a faint paler patch and dark eye. Reaching heights of 120cm, it’s perfect for growing at the back of the border, where it works well with blooms of a similar colour.
H x S: 120cm x 45cm
Phlox divaricata ‘Chattahoochee’
This woodland phlox bears compact, spreading carpets of lilac-blue flowers in June, over fresh green, hairy leaves. It’s ideal for growing in large clumps at the edge of a border or beneath deciduous trees. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
H x S: 35cm x 50cm
Phlox drummondii ‘Moody Blues’
Annual phlox is widely grown as a summer bedding plant, where its spreading habit makes it perfect for filling gaps at the front of a border, or as part of a summer container display. Phlox drummondii ‘Moody Blues’ has a compact, bushy habit and bears flowers in a variety of shades of blue.
H x S: 25cm x 30cm
Phlox bifida ‘Ralph Haywood’
Sand phlox, Phlox bifida, is native to the Midwestern United States and is found in dry or sandy areas, including rocky outcrops and limestone glades. A mound-forming evergreen sub-shrub, it forms clumps o needle-like leaves and bears masses of flowers in spring. It’s much more tolerant of dry soil than other species of phlox.
Phlox bifida ‘Ralph Haywood’ bears large blue flowers in late spring. It’s ideal for growing in a rock garden or container.
H x S: 30cm x 25cm
Phlox subulata ‘McDaniels Cushion’
Moss phlox, Phlox subulata, is a spreading evergreen perennial growing to a height of just 15 cm. It bears small flowers in shades of pink, purple and white, from spring to early summer. Phlox ‘McDaniels Cushion’ forms a low, spreading carpet of slender, mid-green leaves and bears masses of pretty pink or purple flowers in summer.
H x S: 15cm x 50cm