The genus name, phlox is from the Greek word for flame and refers to their brightly colored flowers. There is a variety of phlox for most any garden location. Thousands of phlox varieties are typically grouped by their two primary growth habits, upright or creeping. Spring-blooming creeping phlox can be a ground cover for rock gardens to woodland settings, whereas tall garden phlox will brighten any border with their cheerful early summer flowers|
Upright or tall, summer-blooming, phlox species include -
* Phlox paniculata - Garden Phlox is a clump-forming, upright plant which produces large, showy flower clusters. Plants are generally 2 to 4 feet tall.
* Phlox maculata - Similar to garden phlox, Spotted Phlox flowers earlier, has darker green leaves and conical flower heads. Plants are generally 2 to 3 feet tall.
* Phlox divaricata - A native woodland phlox found in moist, partially shaded woodland sites.
Tall garden phlox is an herbaceous perennial that returns consistently year after year from a thickened root stock.
Creeping, spring-blooming , phlox species include -
* Phlox subulata - Moss Pink, Moss Phlox, Thrift or Carpet Phlox forms dense, 4 to 6 inches tall mats. Foliage is narrow, stiff, and needle-like in appearance.
* Phlox stolonifera - This creeping phlox is 6 to 12 inches tall and bloom in spring.
PLANTING: Set plants 12 to 15 inches apart to allow for good air circulation. Choose a location in full sun or very light shade, and where the soil is moisture-retentive but well-drained, deeply worked and enriched with organic material; paniculata are heavy feeders.
MAINTENANCE: Water plants during periods of drought; summer mulch helps conserve moisture. To promote vigorous growth, pinch out weaker shoots periodically during the growing season. When dividing (every three+ years), discard weaker shoots before replanting. At the end of each season, cut plants back to the ground, removing and discarding dead foliage. To naturally control mildew, avoid overhead watering and planting against moisture-retaining hedges, fences or walls.
PLANTING: Set out plants, 18 inches apart, in sun or light shade. Soil should be moisture retentive but well drained, deeply worked and enriched with organic matter; this is a heavy feeder.
MAINTENANCE: Water during periods of drought and use a summer mulch to conserve moisture. Cutting back (deadheading) faded blooms will encourage a new crop of flowers later in the season.
PLANTING: Space plants 12 to 15 inches apart in full sun to partial shade. In warmer climates, provide more shade. Performs best in an average garden soil that is well-drained, and contains extra organic matter. MAINTENANCE: Water during periods of drought. Mulch with straw, pine needles, shredded bark, or chopped leaves to conserve moisture. Remove spent flowers after bloom.
PLANTING: Set out plants 6 to 8 inches apart in full sun, preferably in a rather dry, well-drained soil of low fertility. While tolerant of a wide pH range, P. subulata prefers a neutral or slightly alkaline soil.
MAINTENANCE: Shear back after flowering will stimulate new growth.
All varieties attracts hummingbirds, birds and butterflies.