The perennial Phlox plant was originally found in North America and comes from a Greek word meaning 'flame' and belongs to the Polemoniaceae family. The aromatic, showy flowers of the Phlox plant have quickly grown in popularity and they display their bright colors in summer and autumn. Some blooms have contrasting colored eyes or bi-color flowers and an alluring fragrance!
There are two main types of Phlox, some are erect perennials and others are mat-forming. The species Phlox paniculata is the taller garden perennial with large panicles of fragrant, showy blooms. Hummingbirds and pollinators like bees and butterflies can't resist their allure!
While Phlox subulata is shorter and more mat-forming, like a groundcover but becomes smothered in pinwheel-like flowers each early spring. Often called Moss Phlox, Creeping Phlox, Groundcover Phlox, Spreading Phlox, and Mountain Phox, the low-growing form can remain evergreen to semi-evergreen in mild winters. Both kinds of Phlox can be deer-resistant and come in a wide array of vivid colors for you to choose from!
Cold-hardy and heat-tolerant throughout USDA growing zones 2 up to 9, these are widely adaptable plants with so many incredible features, that they are sure to light up your landscape!
Using Phlox Perennials In Your Garden
All Phlox is perfect for feeding pollinators, adding to Cut flower gardens and bouquets, perfuming containers and planters, and adding color and long-lasting blooms to your garden beds and borders! They are seldom bothered by deer, making them ideal in areas with high deer pressure!
Tall Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) are taller, upright-growing garden staples in the mid to back of the border, and look great in mixed plantings too. The plants usually have oval or spear-like green leaves. These gorgeous blossoms last for weeks and with deadheading, can rebloom!
- Nectar-rich pollinator-friendly blooms
- Scented cut flowers for bouquets and Cut Flower gardens
- One to two blooms a year with deadheading
- Showy height and color for the garden bed and border
- Cottage gardens, Perennial borders, & large planters
Groundcover Phlox (Phlox subulata) are must-haves for low-growing garden decoration and are tough enough for trickier and drought-prone areas. These mat-forming clumps have smaller leaves that can remain semi-to-fully evergreen in the winter and the foliage almost has a needle-like look.
- Low-growing mats that crowd out weeds
- Early-emerging pollinator-friendly blooms
- Aromatic foliage can be semi-evergreen
- Some may Rebloom with deadheading
- En Masse, Edging, Erosion, Slopes, Groundcover, and Facer Plants
- Great in Rock Gardens, Hell Strips, Line Pathways and Driveways
Suggested companion plants for Phlox are Coreopsis, Penstemon, Rudbeckia, Salvia, or Sedum.
Caring For Your Phlox
Easy to plant and care for, Phlox requires little attention in the garden and is low-maintenance. Phlox are herbaceous perennials and can die back to the ground in the cold winter, but in mild climates, Creeping Phlox can remain semi-evergreen to evergreen!
Phlox Sunlight Needs
Phlox are quite hardy and perform well in moist soil in either full or partial sun. Both groundcover Phlox and upright Phlox prefer some afternoon shade in hotter climates. Growing throughout USDA hardiness zones 2 to 9, these are very versatile and resilient perennial plants!
Phlox Soil, Moisture & Fertility
Plant Phlox in well-drained enriched soil and top off with compost and a 3-4 inch thick layer of arborist mulch over the soil surface each year. Be sure to water regularly and do not let your plants dry out for too long, especially in the hot dry summers. Fertilize each spring with a flowering plant fertilizer to ensure your plant has plenty of energy to bloom.
Dividing Phlox Plants
Dividing or thinning out clumps helps improve the air circulation around the plants, prevents powdery mildew, and also allows for the easy expansion of your garden plant collection (or as thoughtful gifts for friends and family)!
Deadheading & Pruning Phlox
Once your first round of flowers finishes and withers, deadhead both types of Phlox - cut the stems just below the flower heads, and in a short time, you will have a whole new round of flowers!
Creeping Phlox should be sheared or pruned back immediately after flowering in the spring, and again in the summer if they rebloom. In the fall, snip the flower stems of Tall Phlox after the blooms fade since this prevents the flowers from dropping seeds. Creeping Phlox is best deadheaded after spring bloom (for possible rebloom of some) but mostly to reshape and maintain the plants as needed.