Phlox drummondii
Common Name: phlox
Type: Annual
Family: Polemoniaceae
Native Range: Texas
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Rose-red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Best grown in loose, acidic, humusy, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Part afternoon shade is appreciated in hot summer climates. Prefers even moisture. Tolerates some soil dryness. Purchase plants in spring if available. Plants may be grown from seed started indoors about 6-8 weeks prior to the last spring frost date. Space plants 8” apart. Pinch main stems of young plants to stimulate branching. Deadhead spent flowers promptly to the extent practicable to extend bloom. Propagate by seed. Plants will easily reseed in the garden in optimum conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Phlox drummondii is an annual phlox that is native to grasslands and open woods in central and eastern Texas. It typically grows to 6-9” (less frequently to 15”) tall. It has escaped gardens and naturalized along roads, fields and waste areas in many parts of the U. S., particularly in the southeastern states. Fragrant, trumpet-shaped, five-lobed, rose-red flowers with short narrow tubes appear in clusters at the stem ends in a spring bloom typically extending from April/May to early July. Plants decline significantly as the heat of summer sets in, but may revive in fall. In cool summer climates, plants will continue to bloom throughout summer. Cultivars, often in compact sizes and sometimes with double flowers, extend the range of flower colors to include varying shades of pink, red, lavender, purple, buff and white. Flowers often have a different colored eye. Oblong to lance-shaped, stem-clasping, leaves (to 3” long) are bright green, with upper leaves alternate and lower leaves opposite.

The genus name is derived from the Greek word phlox meaning flame in reference to the intense flower colors of some varieties.

Specific epithet honors Thomas Drummond (1790-1835) who collected plants in Texas and sent seeds from Texas to England.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problem. Plants are susceptible to powdery mildew, particularly in humid conditions. Crown rot may occur in poorly drained soils. Spider mites can also be a problem.

Garden Uses

Spring annuals that are excellent massed in beds and borders as a ground cover. Also effective as edging along walks and paths. Rock gardens. Containers.