Flower garden and landscape

Phlox in garden design - use and classification


Colorful and vibrant phloxes are rightfully included in the list of garden classics. Despite the rich history of use in garden design, phloxes today remain fashionable and popular. They are loved and appreciated for their abundant flowering, enviable unpretentiousness, frost resistance and diversity. Among phloxes, there are a variety of plants in terms of size and timing of flowering. It is easy to recognize them in any flower garden and rock gardens. During flowering, thick bushes and carpets turn into solid pastel spots, offering to admire the beauty of the rich pink palette.

Phlox is easy to recognize in any flower garden

Description of garden phlox

Phloxes certainly belong to the most recognizable garden plants. And the reason for this is not only their bright appearance, but also their high prevalence. Phloxes have not surprised anyone for a long time in the front gardens, in the flower beds and in the mixborders, but their beauty does not become less valuable.

Read also our detailed material: Phlox - the right choice of place and subtlety of landing.

Despite its great variety, the varietal phlox palette is annually replenished with dozens of new varieties, and nostalgic and not without disadvantages old plants are replaced by more and more extravagant novelties.

It is easy to get confused in the variety of phlox species, but their name throughout the planet remains unchanged and easily recognizable. Representatives of the clan got their name Phlox (Phlox) from the Greek "flame." The reason was not only the red color of some wild phloxes, but also the effect that plants produce, as if engulfed in a colored fire at the peak of flowering.

Phloxes belong to the family Cyanosis (Polemoniaceae). The history of their use as a decorative culture dates back to the 18th century, when several species of bush and ground cover phlox appeared and began to spread rapidly in Europe.

In the wild, phlox is found mainly in North America. All garden plants come from wild ancestors, which are widespread throughout the continent. Due to the fact that phlox grows in a variety of conditions - from the humid subtropics of deserts, mountains, tropics to the harsh northern territories, they differ in an amazing variety in terms of preference for moisture or drought resistance, and frost resistance, and soil requirements. But most of all, their origin affects the decorative characteristics and form of growth.

Phlox awl - ideal plant for rockeries and rock gardens

External features of phlox

Phloxes are herbaceous perennials that are distinguished by sufficiently rapid growth and a powerful, densely branched rhizome. They are constantly growing and are able to create thickets and massifs. Develop in the form of dense bushes and sods of erect, creeping or rising shoots. Depending on the form of growth, they are classified as bush, sod or ground cover perennials. Gender height Phlox (Phlox) ranges from a modest 10 cm to more than 150 cm.

The foliage of phlox is quite the same. Bright, saturated green colors or dark shades with a bluish tint are characteristic for sessile, on the shoots, opposite, whole-edge, most often, lanceolate or oval-lanceolate leaves. The lower the phlox, the smaller the leaves, but even in the largest species they cannot boast of outstanding size: in length the leaves are limited to 1-3 cm in ground cover species and up to 5-15 cm in bush species.

Blooming phlox covers the bush with a continuous blanket of inflorescences, regardless of the form of plant growth. Fragrant, simple, very beautiful flowers are collected in thick or loose panicles, spheres, and shields, with a diameter of 2 to 4 cm. Tubular flowers are decorated with flat corollas formed by five petals, which in different species can be star-shaped and deeply dissected , and solid, resembling saucers. A small peephole in the center emphasizes the simple shape of the flower, five stamens around a lone pestle are almost invisible.

Phlox Flowering Period

Phloxes are one of those perennials with which you can create a continuous flowering baton. With the right and balanced selection of species, the flowering of phloxes on flower beds will last from spring to autumn. From starting in May in the middle strip of ground cover phlox to June loose-sod. From the first variegated varieties of bush phlox and the peak of their bloom in mid-summer to early fall, when you can’t take your eyes off phlox ... Selection of plants allows you to compensate for the short flowering period of individual plants.

Phlox color scheme

The color scheme of phlox is very rich. Phloxes are famous for the pure, dazzling pink tones that made the Pyrenees landscapes legendary. Raspberry, fuchsia, candy pink, soft pink ... All shades from pure white to red and purple, including quite dark and rare purple shades - this is the range of colors of phlox, which allows any plant of this kind to look elegant, romantic and festive. Many phloxes have a watercolor color, with spots, washouts, borders, strokes or eyes that make the flowers mottled.

Are phlox flowers fragrant?

The aroma of phlox, although they cannot compete with the best garden plants on this basis, is felt quite strongly in most species. Phloxes attract pollinating insects, they almost always attract butterflies and will not be superfluous in any composition with honey plants. The spicy aroma of flowering phlox is able to create a special cozy atmosphere in the recreation area.

After flowering, phlox tied oval shaped fruit boxes in which seeds even ripen in the middle lane.

Phlox is fragrant and attracts pollinating insects.

Phlox Classification

Phlox is characterized by a wide variety. This genus combines more than six dozen plants. But, despite the multiplicity and proximity of many species according to their decorative characteristics, it is very easy to navigate in the classification. After all, phloxes are grouped according to the form of growth, which allows you to immediately find a list of candidates to perform a decorative task. Wild, species phloxes are not used in gardening: these perennials are represented by decorative forms, varieties and hybrids.

The main classification of phlox divides plants into only three groups:

  1. Creeping phlox, including all types and hybrid forms of groundcover phlox, forming pillows and turfs.
  2. An intermediate category, or loose-sod phlox, with vegetative creeping stems in a loose turf, from which upright flowering shoots rise.
  3. Shrub phlox, combining low, medium and tall species, are considered the most common of all phlox.

Each of these groups differs not only in size and structural features, but also in cultivation agricultural technology. Groundcover phloxes require different conditions and other care than bush phloxes.

The legendary Phlox paniculate and widespread, Arends and the only one-year-old Phlox Drummond, stolonosovy and awl-shaped - the most common types of phlox. But there are other varieties among plants that can also become a true decoration of the garden.

The difference in flowering time between creeping and bush phlox allows you to divide all phlox into two categories according to flowering time:

  1. Phlox spring flowering, creating bright colored carpets in the gardens, where the season of early lush flowering is just beginning.
  2. Phloxes of summer-autumn flowering, pleasing throughout the summer, when choosing modern varieties are distinguished by their amazing duration and variety of flowering. This group is sometimes divided into phloxes of middle and late flowering. The former pleases with their inflorescences in June, and the latter from July to September.

The use of phlox in garden design

Phloxes are sometimes included in the lists of nostalgic plants, but there are no stylistic restrictions for their use in garden design. Phloxes are good in a rustic garden, and in a classic setting.

Thanks to the bright new varieties, phloxes are always in demand in modern fashionable directions of landscape design and fit into any landscape. They will not seem out of place even in a regular style, if you use the plants correctly, for example, as a volumetric filler of partners with noble greens.

Bright and plentifully flowering, phlox allows you to play with the Mediterranean style. With phloxes, you can safely use color and add volume to the compositions, choosing varieties so that they most closely match the desired image. So, for compositions of a natural style, species phloxes and old varieties, small-flowered or openwork phloxes are suitable. In the regular garden, white phloxes are good. And the best bush phlox with massive inflorescences is an indispensable basis for romantic ensembles.

Phlox - plants are universal and from the point of view of use in gardens of any size. In small areas, the choice of varieties that are not prone to overgrowth, with a more accurate form and thick leafy, compensates for the shortcomings of even bush plants and replenish the composition with your favorite perennial.

And if the area allows, from phloxes you can create stunning flowering massifs and thickets. Phloxes most fully reveal beauty when placed not on one plant, but in groups (at least 3-5 plants), which make it possible to level sloppy foliage and enhance the effect of lush flowering.

It is better to place bush phloxes in the garden in groups, they do not look so impressive individually

Bush phlox

Bush phloxes are indispensable participants in almost any flower garden. They are used in the original types of compositions, and in classic flowerbeds of any shape, style and size. Phloxes are equally good in mixborders, and in discounts, and in an island flower bed, and in a large flower garden or serial flower beds, in flowerbeds by the terrace or recreation area. Without phlox, it’s hard to imagine ceremonial flower beds.

They are able to create volume and color spots, form the basis of compositions or form a lushly blooming background, play the role of a soloist or a full-fledged partner. They are good in today's fashionable flower gardens with a minimum number of plant species (up to 5 items), and in the most complex compositions. In decorative ensembles, phloxes are used, given the height of the plant and the nature of its growth, the strength and beauty of the bushes or the sloppy friability of turf.

Bush phloxes in flower beds of different types use:

  • to create a lush, constantly flowering background;
  • for lush blooming large volumetric groups;
  • as tapeworms (solitarius - lat. - lonely) in the middle or foreground;
  • for color accents;
  • in small spot groups in the middle plan;
  • as the point of attraction of the gaze in the foreground;
  • to create a feeling of festive splendor and ceremoniality in the summer flower gardens.

Phloxes are considered one of the best decisions when selecting hardy and lush plants for a front garden. In ceremonial compositions, they create an excellent basis for the composition, allowing you to play with textures, contrasts and the effect of perfectly plentiful flowering.

Phlox is used not only on flower beds. They look very beautiful as a shading plant on the edges, in natural groups and massifs, as tapeworms on the lawn or in small groups, revitalizing the appearance of a green lawn. They are also suitable for “cutting” arbors, patios, boring paths and objects of small architecture, which are especially valuable for the owners of the garden. Bush phloxes, especially with lace or cylindrical inflorescences, look great on coastlines and in the design of streams.

Creeping and loose sod phlox

Creeping phloxes are indispensable for the design of stony gardens and areas with complex terrain. Both carpet and loose-sod phlox look great on slopes, in rockeries, on alpine hills, retaining walls. They can be placed on any slopes, even southern ones. But you can use creeping phlox and more varied:

  • as a framing, border plant, especially along paths or around soft-coated areas;
  • for framing, revitalizing or alternatively to decorative lawns.
  • as a groundcover to emphasize the beauty of large architectural and silhouette cultures.

Loose-sod phlox can be used both in rockeries or rock gardens, and for designing various water objects or groups in a landscape style. For these plants, it is better to avoid the hot southern locations, where in the middle of summer, phloxes begin to look messy.

Creeping phloxes effectively accentuate any retaining wall

Annual phlox

Annual phloxes are one of the brightest plants to play with seasonal design. They are the best choice for filling the voids in the foreground of ceremonial compositions or creating bright islands on the lawn, but they will not be lost in an ordinary flower garden from summer books. The appearance of annual phlox is more suited to the country style, but if in the garden they rely on dazzling magnificent flowering, they will also cope with this task.

Phlox in the cut and decoration of dishes

Phlox belong to the edible flowers that can be used in the decoration of desserts and gourmet dishes. Sweet and spicy, phlox flowers look no worse in a serving than their main competitors violets.

Phloxes are not the most popular, but bright plants for cutting. Not distinguished by great resistance, they require cutting only in the early morning, at the stage of opening half or a third of the flowers in inflorescence with immediate removal of the lower leaves and placing in water. In bouquets, phloxes cost about a week.

Selection of partners for phlox

Phlox mixes well with each other. Different types and varieties of phloxes, not only in height but also in growth rate, color gamut, flowering dates, allow you to create compositions with an extended period of plentiful flowering and fully reveal the beauty of these plants. Combining phloxes among themselves, it is better to avoid contrasts in colors, adhering to the principle of harmonious color combinations or choosing nuances and shades of the same color.

In ceremonial flower beds and mixborders, as in all other types of decorative compositions with a focus on brightness and high decorativeness, for phlox partners are selected according to the principle of refining textures, contrasts that can compensate for the flaws of greenery and reveal the unique beauty of this bright perennial.

Phlox bush in the flower garden. © tesselaarusa

It is no coincidence that today it is so fashionable to combine phlox with decorative foliage wormwood, euonymus and barberry. Daylilies, grassy peonies, echinacea, delphiniums, catnets, yarrows, and bells are always excellent partners for phloxes.

Small flowering accents fit perfectly into ensembles with phloxes - from tulips lost among perennials to decorative bows. In the composition with phlox, plants with an eye for the fall are necessarily added - for example, stonecrops, chrysanthemums and asters.

In the compositions of the natural style for phlox, it is better to choose other landscape favorites as neighbors.Yarrow, hosta, cornflower, loosestrife, geraniums, rudbeckia, ferns, Siberian irises, navyavniki, bluebells will become the best partners for more modest flowering phlox or help your favorite fashion varieties fit into the natural style.

The best partners for creeping phloxes have always been rock gardens stars blooming with them in similar terms. Saxifrages and arabis with muscari, edelweiss, and dwarf irises accents are a typical choice. But carpet phlox combines perfectly with any other bulbous and other groundcover plants. Aubrieta, fescue, primroses, armeria, ryegrass, stalks, cleanser, wormwood, stonecrops, bluebells, thyme, clove-grass, species tulips, crocuses, white flowers - there are plenty to choose from.

Dwarf shrubs and conifers perfectly shade and enrich compositions with creeping phlox. Pines, spruce, dwarf spirea, tsugi, cotoneaster, euonymus look especially bright against the background of phlox pillows. And if phloxes are used to frame large-sized solo perennials, then it is worth paying attention to how they emphasize the beauty of decorative bows, species irises, feather grass, sheep, and incense.

Near ponds, phloxes can be combined with periwinkles, baths, primrose, medunica, dicenter, bathing suits.

For annual phloxes, snapdragons, nigella, fescue, lichen, wormwood, coreopsis, calendula, cosmea are considered the best partners.