The Different Types of Phlox

A close up of a flower

Phlox are some of the easiest perennials to grow. They’re very tolerant of heat, humidity, different soil types and most importantly they’re deer resistant. Typically blooming in early spring to late summer Phlox come in a wide range of colors from whites, pinks and purples to oranges, reds and yellows. Phlox are great at naturalizing which is very helpful for bee populations but if you do not want them spreading everywhere be sure to deadhead spent flowers before seeds form. A great advantage of growing Phlox is that they’re deer resistant. Deer generally avoid them because they don’t like the taste.

So here are some of its types

Phlox drummondii

A close up of a purple flower

This is the species most often grown in gardens. The plants are short with terminal clusters of flowers for many weeks of the year. It is native to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona south into Mexico where it is also known as turk’s cap or turk’s head. There are several varieties that come in different colors; white, blue, red, pink and purple.

Phlox stolonifera

A close up of a flower

This plant has creeping stems (stolons) along the ground like ground cover which makes it easy to grow between stepping stones or other areas where you don’t want grasses to take hold but want something lower growing instead. It comes in various colors; white, blue, light lavender and purple.

Phlox cuspidata

This plant grows to about 18 inches tall and spreads quickly by the roots. There are many of these plants in my own garden that I didn’t plant there! 🙂 They self-seed freely each year, but they are mostly grown for the beautiful flowers which appear on slender spikes at the top of the plant. The color is lavender pink.

Phlox nivalis

This plant has small leaves and grows about 10 inches tall with flowers that are white with pale green centers to them. They bloom for weeks at a time in the early spring before everything else is full of leaves. It’s native to Europe where it can be found growing on mountainsides in the Alps, Pyrenees and other mountainous regions. The first time I saw this plant was in an alpine greenhouse at the botanical garden here in Austin . I’ve never been able to find one for sale anywhere since then though!

Phlox subulata

Also known as Moss Pink or Mountain Pink , this plant loves cool climates (similarly like phlox nivalis) and in fact, it does best in a cold moist climate. The leaves are tiny and this plant has a creeping habit which makes it ideal for larger rock gardens or even your front yard garden. This is actually another plant that volunteers itself all over the place from seed dropping, but if you pull them up, do not despair because they will keep coming back. This lovely little flower blooms from spring to early summer with white flowers, sometimes tinted pink or lavender on tall stems growing about 1 foot tall.

Phlox paniculata

These plants have showy flowers in shades of reds , pinks and purples . It’s a tall variety growing between 2-4 feet tall depending upon the variety. The stalks are thin and wiry, but they support each bloom very nicely to draw your eye upward toward them. This plant blooms in the summer months.

Phlox caesia

These are leafy plants growing to about 12 inches with clusters of blue flowers that provide a nice contrast to the foliage. It’s also another creeping variety that spreads quickly into an attractive ground cover, but not as much as phlox stolonifera does since it doesn’t have any above-ground stems for runners like stolons do. That plus its bright vivid color make this one of my favorites! It can be found growing wild in various parts of Europe (mostly France) where it is also greatly enjoyed by gardeners.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this piece about some of the most popular plants in the genus phlox and that it will help to inspire you with your future gardening plans. These plants are easy to find and relatively inexpensive if they’re not locally grown (I always prefer local plant sources). They come in a variety of colors and heights, but they all seem to do well if given proper sun exposure and watering that matches their needs for growth as established by season (spring/summer/fall or winter) as well as basic care such as regular weeding around them so they won’t be choked out by other plants encroaching upon their space.

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