Phlox comes as a ground cover perennial, but the one I will talk about first today is the tall cottage garden Phlox, the one that wafts a summer fragrance throughout your garden.
There are not many perennials that have all the advantages of a Phlox:
height for the back of a border
Can be grown in a pot or container
flowers each year in sun, or perhaps more importantly for us, without sun
This sturdy upright perennial reaches 2 – 4ft tall. It flowers from July to September (with the deadheading of the older flowers). Phlox comes in a range of colours; from white to pastel pinks, lavenders, purples, orange and red – so there's a colour for all tastes!
I grow Phlox in a north-facing border, which only gets sun in late afternoon, but it never fails to bloom, even last year!
Wildlife: Phlox attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, so a great plant for attracting wildlife. I find birds love he seed heads in autumn/winter,
Some of the best varieties include:
Amethyst – Violet
Fujiyama – Brilliant white
Red Riding Hood – Red
Peppermint Twist – Pink & white
The ground cover version:
If I said to you that I have a plant that will grow in the poorest of soils, survive the arctic winters we've had, and flower it's head off, what would you say?
I have that very plant for you, but before you start planting it, you will have to know what it likes – or more importantly, what it hates!
Well, firstly let me tell you what it likes:
a windy site, but with plenty of sun
stoney, poor soil
And what it hates:
heavy wet soil
a shady position
So, as you can see the ground cover Phlox and it's tall sister 'Paniculata' have very different requirements! The ground cover Phlox is really an alpine (rockery) plant, growing in windy high attitudes, on shaley rock, but likes lots of sunshine.
Surely you can find a sunny position on stoney soil (or a slope!), but if not, all is not lost: you can grow it in a trough, sink, container or any type of pot.
The best variety of alpine.rockery Phlox are:
Phlox 'McDonnell's Cushion'
Companion plants for Phlox (the tall varieties) include: