Height 10-30cm (4-12in)
Planting distance 23cm (9in)
Flowers mid summer to early autumn
Open sunny site
Annual phlox (Phlox drummondii) is one of the traditional bedding plants, its compact bushy plants and brightly colouredmaking attractive edgings to formal bedding schemes and borders. The red, mauve, pink and white flowers are borne in tightly clustered round heads, each individual flower with a zone around its eye in a contrasting colour. The leaves are light green and lance-shaped, but the flowers are so profuse that you hardly notice them. Phlox flowers from mid summer until early autumn. Dead-heading, though time-consuming, will extend the season.
The following seed selections are readily available.
‘Beauty Mixed’ is a dwarf variety just 15cm (6in) high with large flowers in clear red, pink, mauve and white.
‘Carnival Mixed’ bears large flowers in mixed colours, each with a clearly defined eye. The plants reach 25-30cm (10-12in) high.
‘Large Flowered Mixed’ is a tall variety 30cm (1ft) high with large blooms in mixed colours.
‘Petticoat’ grows only 10cm (4in) high, but is smothered with a mass of small flowers in shades of white, pink, red, violet and lavender, often bicoloured.
‘Twinkles Dwarf Star Mixed’ has star-like flowers in mixed colours. As its name implies, the plants reach just 15cm (6in) high.
Sow the seeds in pots or boxes of John Innes seed compost during early spring and germinate at a temperature of 15°C (59°F). Prick out the seedlings into boxes of pot-ting compost. Harden off before planting out in late spring.
Grow phlox in any fertile, well-drained garden soil in an open sunny site. Dead-head regularly.
Pests and diseases
Slugs feed on young stems and leaves, andmay appear on the leaves.