Phlox is a genus of flowering perennial and annual plant species that are mostly native to North America, though a few species are native to Asia. Phlox belong to the Polemoniaceae (phlox or Jacob's ladder) family. The Encyclopedia Britannica states that there are nearly 400 species of phlox. Phlox are planted in gardens and landscapes for their strikingly bold flowering clusters.
The most attractive part of the phlox plant is its flowers. They produce flowers with five lobes or petals that may be in a closed or open-flared orientation. Phlox flowers bloom in several clusters on a single plant and are available in purple, blue, red, pink and white varieties, according to Iowa State University.
Some species of phlox grow in an erect form, such as spotted phlox (Phlox maculata), which grows up to 3 feet tall. Others grow in a creeping orientation, such as moss phlox (Phlox subulata), which is a low-growing phlox that reaches up to 6 inches tall.
Planning a phlox garden according to the blooming schedule of its flowers can create a garden of continuous bloom. Some spring-blooming phlox include creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera), woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) and charrahoochee (Phlox pilosa).
Early summer to fall-blooming phlox include wild sweet William (Phlox maculata), annual phlox (Phlox drummondii) and garden phlox (Phlox paniculata).
A popular phlox species is the garden phlox (Phlox paniculata). It is a native flower that grows primarily throughout the eastern half of North America. Garden phlox grows up to 5 feet tall and thrives in moist soil and full sun. Garden phlox is also known as fall phlox, summer phlox, tall phlox and perennial phlox, according to Dayton Nurseries. Some varieties of garden phlox and their colors include Aureole (pink), Andre (blue violet), Blue Paradise (lavender blue), Coral Flame (coral red) and David (white).
Disease and Prevention
Phlox species may be susceptible to powdery mildew and root rot. Some phlox plants are mildew-resistant, but the best way to keep your phlox plants healthy is to practice good gardening habits. This includes planting phlox with the recommended amount of plant spacing and in full sun. Also water its roots instead of the entire plant to prevent mildew from forming on its foliage and flowers. Adequate fertilization and sulfur spray treatments may prevent these diseases from infecting phlox plants.
Butterflies, bees and hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar produced by phlox flowers. Claire Hagen Dole of the Butterfly Gardeners' Quarterly notes that they find the nectar irresistible, as do several moth species as well. If you want to attract butterflies to your garden, planting phlox is a good way to attract them.