Phlox is a flowering perennial native to North America. This plant is a vigorous bloomer with dense bunches of star-shaped flowers in red, pink, blue, purple, or white shades. Grow phlox in zones 3 through 8, in areas that receive full to partial sun. Since this plant prefers direct sunlight, it can easily dry out, so water weekly to supplement rainfall as needed.
Phlox is versatile and can be used in borders, mass plantings, or hanging baskets. Some phlox varieties make an excellent ground cover, while medium-height plants stand up to 2 feet tall, and tall plants reach 3-5 feet tall. The bold flowers look charming mixed with other flowering plants and provide a burst of color when matched with plants that bloom at different times.
Shrubs To Plant With Phlox
Butterfly bushes and rose of Sharon are shrubs that make wonderful companion plantings with phlox. Both of these shrubs are large plants, with butterfly bushes reaching 2 to 4 feet tall and rose of Sharon coming in between 6 to 10 feet tall. Medium or tall phlox will hold their own next to these shrubs without being cast in shadows or overlooked. Try planting medium shrubs, such as Oakleaf Hydrangea and Diervilla as a backdrop for the bright burst of color from several cushion phlox plants positioned at the front of a bed.
The butterfly bush and rose of Sharon bloom during the mid-summer and into fall, which is around the time most phlox plants stop blooming. Planting phlox near a butterfly bush or rose of Sharon ensures you will have consistent color throughout the summer and fall. Phlox also attracts pollinators, so bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies will have a food source throughout the summer and fall.
Perennials To Plant With Phlox
Sun-loving perennials like bee balm, yarrow, and daylilies are suitable for phlox because they have similar care needs. The feathery petals of bee balm flowers contrast phlox's smooth, star-shaped blooms, creating visual interest. Bee balm can grow several feet tall, so surround it with groundcover phlox or medium height phlox to create a bold mass planting.
The individual flowers of yarrow are tiny but grow in flat-top or dome-shaped clusters that bloom from spring through fall. Much like phlox, yarrow can vary in height from 6 inches to 2 feet, so know how tall your plants should grow, and feature the tall plants near the back of the bed for a tiered display.
The fountain-like foliage of daylilies first appears in the spring and creates a nice muted backdrop for flowering phlox. Daylilies bloom in summer, so choose a daylily variety in a hue that complements or matches a summer-blooming phlox variety.
Annuals To Plant With Phlox
Phlox is an herbaceous perennial that comes back each year. Pairing phlox with annuals is a great way to enjoy the consistency of the phlox but mix things up each year and experiment with different looks and color combinations. African daisies are a great annual to feature as a companion planting with phlox.
African daisies often bloom in the spring into early summer and again during the fall. There is some overlap with the phlox blooming schedule, but the benefit of featuring these plants together is you’ll have flowers constantly blooming from spring through fall.
Best Companion Plants For Phlox in Containers
Phlox provides dependable color in a container. Feature spreading, low-growing phlox in a container so that the reaching stems will tumble over the edge of the pot. Match container-grown phlox with clematis. Clematis is a sun-loving vining perennial that will latch onto a trellis and add height to a container planting.
Plants Not To Grow With Phlox
Phlox crave lots of sunlight, so do not plant phlox near tall shrubs or trees that will block or limit the sunlight that reaches surrounding plants. Group phlox with plants that have similar care needs. While begonias and lungwort have beautiful flowers, both plants need low light, which would not support phlox growth.
Best Plants To Grow With Phlox
Phlox is a spreading, flowering perennial that thrives in full sunlight and requires consistent moisture. As a native of North America, phlox is easy to grow and lends itself to a meadow-like look, especially when planted with other perennials like yarrow or shrubs like the rose of Sharon.