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Annual phlox is an early-season, all-star plant that makes a great addition to containers or entryway plantings where its sweet fragrance can be enjoyed. The mounding habit of low-growing annual phlox blooms in cheerful and bright shades of purple, pink, red, and white. Keep an eye out for winged visitors near annual phlox plantings. This spring bloomer is an especially welcome sight to pollinators that are active in cool weather months, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
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Under 6 inches to 3 feet
To 2 feet wide
Best Plant Partners
Pair annual phlox with other springtime celebrities such as tulips and daffodils. Low-growing phlox forms a tidy mound of color at the feet of lofty spring bulbs, but you can count on phlox to continue blooming long after the flowering bulbs drop their petals. Plant it as a companion for spring flower shrubs: It quickly covers the soil around the shrubs with a splash of color, complementing the blooms overhead. Dwarf fothergilla, azalea, rhododendron, flowering quince, deutzia, and forsythia are some excellent spring shrub companions.
Group three to five plants to create a mass of annual phlox for even more color and texture. Plant drifts of annual phlox along the fronts of borders. Annual phlox can reseed, so it may not be necessary to replant each year.
Annual phlox's rich, vibrant color blossoms always attract attention, blending well with a host of container garden plants. Look for new varieties, such as those in the Gisele series, which are bred to withstand heat and have excellent drought tolerance. These new annual phlox bloom from early spring right through the heat of summer and then unfurl a bold bloom show when temperatures drop in fall.
Annual Phlox Care Must-Knows
Plant annual phlox in full sun and well-drained soil. If the garden bed receives some afternoon shade in the heat of summer, that's a plus. Annual phlox can be started from seed or grown from transplants purchased at a nursery in early spring. Fertilize plants with an all-purpose fertilizer in early summer to encourage several more months of flowering. Cover the soil around plants with a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch to conserve soil moisture.
Look for These New Varieties
'Gisele Hot Pink' wakes up the garden with almost-neon-pink blooms on plants that grow 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide. 'Gisele Pink' is a light pink flowering variety that has a dark pink flower center. Bred to bloom nonstop in all types of weather, 'Gisele Pink' grows 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide. 'Popstars Blue' and 'Popstars Red' are also exceptionally heat tolerant and have finely cut star-shape flowers.