One of the most brilliantly coloured genera,
native to North America, containing annual, herbaceous
and alpine species.
Phlox paniculata (syn. Phlox decussata) has oblong,
lance-shaped leaves and many flowers, from one
to two inches across, borne in massive pyramidal
panicles on stems up to four feet high.
The colour of the garden varieties varies from
white to shades of pink, mauve, violet, purple,
scarlet and crimson.
Phlox glaberrima suffruticosa is one to two feet
tall, with smaller flowers.
Phlox maculata, two feet, has purple flowers;
it is hybrid between Phlox paniculata and Phlox
divaricata, the latter a dwarf alpine species:
the height is one to two feet and the flowers
are mostly of purple shades.
A deep, rich, gritty soil, well drained and sunny,
is necessary for Phlox to grow really well, although
partial shade is advantageous for those of orange
tones that tend to burn in the sun.
There is also the lovely annual Phlox drummondii
in a wide range of colour; most suitable for bedding
Propagate from root cuttings, top cuttings or
The flowering season is from late June until September.
The important family of the Phloxes must be discussed
under three headings; the Perennial or Herbaceous,
the Alpine or Creeping, and the Annual.
1. The herbaceous Phlox has a woody root-stock
from which grow annually straight un-branched
stems, from two to five feet high, bearing a broad
pyramidal head or panicle of single flowers, whose
colour ranges from white through lavender or mauve,
violet, many shades of rose and crimson to salmon
and tints approaching scarlet.
The plant is absolutely hardy; it requires a deep
and nourishing root-run, as it is a hungry and
thirsty subject, and quickly exhausts a poor or
For this reason the clumps ought to be lifted,
divided, and replanted on fresh sights every three
or four years.
There is no fixed rule as to this, and in good
ground plants will sometimes stand seven or eight
years, a certain falling-off in size of the blooms
being compensated by the noble mass and abundance
of the groups.
In preparing beds for Phloxes, dig right down
to the subsoil, and work in plenty of half-rotten
The autumn top-dressing must be liberal, and watering
must be prompt and copious if the plant shows
signs of flagging in hot weather.
Single clumps may be planted in borders, or beds
and plots may be filled with plants put out about
two feet apart.
The stock may be propagated by cuttings of the
tops of shoots, about eight inches long, dibbled
in sandy soil in July and shaded and kept moist;
but the usual and by far the simplest way is root-division,
any time between November and March.
In breaking up old roots, reject the hard woody
stool in the centre of the plant, and choose pieces
with plenty of fibrous roots, at the circumference.
The perennial Phloxes are classified as Phlox suffruticosa
and Phlox decussata.
The former are between two and three feet high,
and flower earlier than the other section.
They are not very numerous, and not as popular
as Phlox decussata.
The latter are as a rule from four to five feet
in height; but there is a comparatively new strain
of dwarfs – about two feet – with
very large flowers.
Phloxes are not superannuated by new kinds quite
so rapidly as some other florists’ flowers,
and the following list of names may be safely
recommended to the beginner.
Acropole: violet, white centre.
Argon: flushed rose, or pinky flesh.
Coquelicot: reddish orange, purple centre, very
Éclaireur: rosy salmon.
Eugène Danzvilliers: rose and lilac, white
Huxley: white with mauve border.
Iris: very large blue-violet, fine.
Molière: bright rose, dark centre.
Panthéon: rosy salmon.
Purity: fine white.
Lucie Baltet: shaded lilac, fine truss.
Coccinea: deep red.
The taller Phloxes must have a stout stake to
each clump, and be effectually tied with tar-string.
Large old clumps may need two or more stakes,
or rain and wind when the flowers are out will
work havoc with them.
2. The Creeping or Alpine Phloxes are mainly
rockery plants, but some of them will grow freely
in any tolerable soil, and may be used for edgings
to beds or as patches of colour in borders.
Some stones sunk and half-bedded in the soil,
and some old mortar, limestone chips or even broken
brick mixed with it, will be to their taste.
They should be planted in February or early March;
once established, they may continue for several
years untouched; they spread fast, and soon invade
their neighbours if sufficient space is not allowed
them at first.
They are propagated by careful pulling out small
pieces of the plant with root-fibres attached.
Some varieties root freely at some distance from
the original stem; others are less prolific.
The following are all desirable; they cover the
ground with a dense mat of fine-leaved growth
which in spring is almost covered with single
flowers the size of a sixpence.
For affording sheets of pure colour, in conjunction
with such things as Arabis, Aubrietia, Alyssum,
etc., they are invaluable.
Phlox divaricata (or Canadensis): pale blue.
Phlox subulata: bright rose, strong grower.
Phlox subulata: G. F. Wilson, mauve.
Phlox subulata: Nelsoni, white fine foliage, not
very strong grower.
Phlox subulata: The Bride, white, pink eye.
(other Subulata varieties worth growing are Brightness,
Nivalis, Seraph, Vivid, Model).
Phlox verna: deep rose.
Phlox Carolina: pink
3. The Annual Phlox – Phlox Drummondii –
is an indispensable bedding and border plant for
any one who can command a hot-bed or frame.
The plants grow from a foot to eighteen inches
high; there is a race of dwarf or compact growers
which does not exceed six inches.
The habit is somewhat trailing; if planted together
in beds, the shoots may be pegged down in the
manner of Verbenas,
and will soon cover the ground.
The flowers, which are borne in profusion from
July to the frosts, are white, clear or with coloured
eye or margin, crimson, rose, buff, salmon, scarlet,
dark blood red, pink, violet, purple blue.
The seed should be sown on moderate heat - 50°
to 70° - early in March; the seedlings pricked
off as soon as possible, grown on near the glass,
hardened and planted out in rich soil, a foot
apart, after the middle of May.
For large beds the taller or rambling sorts may
be used; for mixed borders and edgings the compact.
A packet of mixed seed from a good house will
afford every variety.
If a large number of plants are required.
A packet of imported German seed should be obtained,
containing a dozen or more separate sorts, as
a rule of excellent quality.