Fabulous Phlox

Few plants can perk up the languishing late summer borders like phlox with their bright pops of blue, purple, pink, red, and white. A cottage garden mainstay, attracting a variety of bees and other pollinating insects, phlox owes its enduring popularity to its clouds of billowy blooms, and long flowering season with some varieties blooming until the first frosts. 

Phlox are hardy, low maintenance herbaceous plants that bear a profusion of small, often scented, flowers in summer ranging from tall border perennials, to creeping or alpine varieties, and woodland types, as well as annual varieties that can be grown as bedding plants.

Border Phlox

Phlox paniculata is the most commonly grown garden phlox, often known as border phlox. 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. They have sturdy stems, so even the taller varieties rarely need staking and they make excellent cut flowers. Most border phlox grow best in full sun, but as they are native to woodland edges, they will also do well in partial shade.

Alpine Phlox

Cultivars of creeping or alpine phlox, such as Phlox subulata, are low growing so make excellent ground cover plants, and grow well in rockery situations. They thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, flowering in early summer.

Woodland Phlox

Varieties that hail from woodland habitats, such as Phlox divaricata, need partial shade and hummus-rich soil. 

Annual Phlox

Annual phlox, such as Phlox drummondii, are ideal as bedding plants or for growing in containers, and are often grown from seed.

Phlox Care Tips


Grow phlox in moist, fertile, well-drained soil enriched with a layer of compost or other organic matter. They prefer soil that is slightly alkaline so Scottish soil generally provides perfect growing condtitons. If your soil tends to be acidic, regular applications of lime will benefit phlox.


Phlox do not like drought and should be watered during dry spells or whenever you see the foliage begin to wilt. Ideally, they should receive about an inch of water per week during the growing season.

Pruning and Deadheading

Phlox do not generally require pruning, but if you want to delay blooming and get bushier plants with more flowerheads, pinch or cut back the stems by one-third to one-half in early summer.

Deadheading spent flowers may also extend the flowering period and prevent phlox spreading from self-seeding.


Lifting and dividing phlox plants every few years will keep the plant healthy and flowering well.


Largely pest-free and disease-resistant, phlox survive for years in the garden. 

Phlox are excellent, low-maintenance plants for a herbaceous border, cottage garden, or rockery, seeing the garden through late summer into early autumn with their kaleidoscope of beautiful colours. 

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