Planting Phlox

Phlox is available in spreading (Phlox subulata), annual phlox or Drummond’s phlox (Phlox drummondii), and tall upright (Phlox paniculata) varieties. Make sure you purchase the correct type to match your garden plans. Both species require full sun but spreading phlox blooms earlier in the year. Most phlox are grown as perennials, but the annual options are available too if you like to switch the flowering plants in your gardens every year.


What You Need To Plant Phlox

  • Hand trowel
  • Gardening gloves
  • The perfect location or container
  • Water source

Where to Plant Phlox

Plant phlox in a location that receives at least 6 hours of sunshine a day for best results. This plant can tolerate shadier conditions, especially in hot, southern climates. Phlox prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Mix compost or a slow-release balanced all-purpose fertilizer into the soil before planting. Match the planting depth to the soil line of the container the phlox was grown in at the nursery.

Phlox Spacing

Space phlox between 1 and 2 feet apart. This plant needs room to spread either above ground or along the soil surface per species. Upright phlox do not need staking. Give spreading varieties room to trail on the ground or over the edge of a container, wall, window box, or garden path.


Steps To Plant Phlox

Select a sunny location. Have a water source and compost or a slow-release granular fertilizer nearby before you begin.

Step 1 - Remove the plant from the nursery container. Do not pull it out by the stem.

Step 2 - Loosen any roots growing around the edge of the pot. If the soil is dry, dip the root ball into a shallow pan of water to make it easier to separate the roots.

Step 3 - Use a hand trowel to dig a hole wide and deep enough to accommodate the plant's root system. The hole should be deep enough to allow the phlox to be planted at the same depth as it was grown in the pot.

Step 4 - Mix compost or fertilizer into the soil removed from the ground.

Step 5 - Add the plant to the hole and back-fill.

Step 6 - Use your fingers to gently press down the soil around the base of the plant.

Step 7 - Water thoroughly. 

When to Plant Phlox

Plant phlox in the spring for best results. Spring planting will allow the plant’s root system to become established before the heat of the summer months. If you plant phlox in the summer months, do it in the morning or early evening. Transplanting during midday on a sunny summer day adds additional stress to the phlox. Always water well after planting.

Transplanting Phlox

Phlox can be divided every three or four years once they have become established. The optimal time to divide phlox is in the spring before new growth appears. Dig up the plant and divide it into sections. Make sure each piece has three to five shoots with healthy roots attached. Replant in a sunny location at the seam depth allowing 18 inches between plants allowing for adequate room to grow. 


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 Author Maureen Farmer - Published 02-22-2022