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The Phlox genus (pronounced “flocks”) is a member of the Polemoniaceae family and contains about 67 species of perennial and annual flower plants. Most of these species are native to North America and are found in places like woodlands, prairies and alpine tundra. Some common species of phlox found and used today are creeping phlox, moss phlox, garden phlox and steak phlox.
Discovered in the mid 1700’s, it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that phlox gained its popularity. This plant genus was thought to be one of the most used from the 1880’s up until the 1940’s. This was not only because of its beautiful flower shape, or bright colors (from blue, to pink, to magenta, to purple or white), but also because of its ease to grow and care for.
Depending on the species, phlox can be grown either in spring, summer or fall. No matter what time of year it is grown; most species are all cared for the same way. To grow phlox, provide a seed or division of a plant with nutrient rich soil that drains well. For best cultivation, try to space these flowers out around 12-18” apart. Plant them in an area that gives them plenty of sunlight, preferably with some light shade throughout the day. Also, make sure to keep their soil moist in droughts or in the summer with plenty of water because they love to drink it.
Florists find that phlox is a great filler flower for gardens since it grows full and widespread. Depending on what area you are looking to fill should determine what species you choose since they all grown differently. Although all phlox species come in a variety of colors, they all grow at different heights; anywhere from 6 inches (which gives them a “carpet” appearance) to 4 feet tall. Just be wary of planting in areas that give animals like deer and rabbits easy access to the phlox. They love to feed off this flower.
Over time, phlox has become a flower that is associated with romantic gestures. Florists encourage giving this flower to express ones feelings of compatibility, uniting of souls or even for a proposal in marriage.