This easy-care annual looks like floral fireworks.

By Jennifer Aldrich
June 04, 2021
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Annuals are the way to go for adding quick, long-lasting color to your garden. And while familiar varieties such as petunias and zinnias are reliable options, it's always fun to include something a little different. One uncommon annual that's sure to stop you in your tracks is 'Popstars' phlox. Popular in Europe, this variety of annual phlox (Phlox drummondii) has been catching on in the U.S. in recent years, and for good reason. These low-growing plants, which are also called star phlox because of the shape of their flowers, bloom in bright colors all summer long and are super easy to grow. The 'Popstars' series comes in a mix of colors, including white, pink, red, purple, and bicolors, creating a spectacular floral fireworks display wherever they're planted.

phlox twinkle star
Credit: Courtesy of Seeds Market Shop/Etsy

How to Grow Popstars Annual Phlox

If you've never grown annual phlox before, no problem. They're very easy to start from seed, either indoors a few weeks before your frost-free date or out in the garden once the weather stays consistently warm. Just make sure to place them in a sunny spot because these beauties bloom best in full sun, though they'll do just fine in part shade, too. Annual phlox also prefers well-drained soil and plenty of moisture.

Growing about 10 inches tall and wide, 'Popstars' phlox works best toward the front of garden beds or around the edges of a container. For maximum impact, try these plants along your entryway for a cheerful welcome or as filler in your patio pots. You can group several phlox plants together to create a heap of colors and textures or pair them with other annuals and perennials. You can just leave the flowers in your landscape or cut them for a bouquet.

'Popstars' phlox is self-cleaning, meaning you don't need to deadhead the faded blooms. But if the flowers seem to be slowing down, give your plants a light shearing back to encourage more buds to develop. However, annual phlox often reseeds itself if you leave the flowers on the plants, so it may come back for you the next year without needing to be replanted. Fertilize with an all-purpose plant food once a month to keep your plants going strong until frost.

You can purchase 'Popstars' phlox seeds from several online retailers. Two shops on Etsy to try are Seeds Market Shop for $3 and Colorite Shop for $6. The red and white bicolor version of Popstars phlox is on Amazon for $9. Add these annual phlox plants to your garden and you'll be able to enjoy a vibrant flower display all summer long.

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