On our recent trip to Las Vegas, we saw some of the most fantastic flower arrangements in the lobbies of all of the hotels we visited. At the Wynn hotel in particular, I was amazed at the large balls of flowers that were hung from a grove of trees that was located next to guest registration. Admiring these huge multi-colored clusters of flowers reminded me of the phlox that were growing at home in my garden. When I returned home, the phlox must have known I was thinking of them because they were in full bloom.
The phlox that I grow in my garden, Phlox paniculata, are the ones that most people are familiar with when you mention these beautiful Summer stunners. Phlox paniculata are the tall garden phlox with their big, fragrant clusters of blossoms. The blossoms vary in color but are most commonly seen in red, pink, salmon, lavender, purple or white. They grow two to four feet tall and are most common in planting zones 3 to 8.
I have three varieties of phlox in my garden. Along with the picture at the top, here are some shots of the bright red Phlox paniculata ‘Bright Eyes’, which is my favorite:
Here is the lavender Phlox paniculata ‘Franz Schubert’:
Rounding out the trio, here is Phlox paniculata ‘Bright Eyes’:
Phlox prefer full sun or very light shade along with light, fertile soil with ample organic matter to retain moisture. They also need good drainage. I try to provide adequate air circulation around the plants and also stake them up versus letting them fall over onto the ground due to the weight of the flower cluster. You should also cut off spent blooms to avoid having the plant go to seed. If you are looking for a great garden perennial, especially one that blooms in the heat of Summer, the phlox is the plant for you. They are quite phlox-y (I had to write that just one more time…sorry).