Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Plant Info
Also known as: Fall Phlox, Summer Phlox
Family:Polemoniaceae (Phlox)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; average to moist soil; open woods, woodland edges, thickets, along streams, gardens
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:2 to 6 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers - pale pink] Branching cluster of short-stalked flowers at the top of the plant. Flowers are ½ to ¾ inch across with 5 petals fused at the base, forming a slender tube about 1 inch long. Inside the tube are yellow-tipped stamens, a few of which barely poke out of the tube. Flower color is naturally white, pale to deep pink or pinkish purple, but cultivated plants include deep purple and salmon to coral colored flowers. There is often a ring of darker or lighter coloring around the mouth of the tube. At the base of the tube is a slender calyx, hairless or variously hairy, with 5 narrow teeth.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are thin, 2 to 6 inches long, ½ to 1½ inches wide, narrowly oblong to lance-elliptic, toothless, usually hairless but with minute hairs around the edges, pointed at the tip, narrowed to nearly heart-shaped at the base, short-stalked in the lower plant and mostly stalkless or nearly so in the upper. The conspicuous veins are joined to form a border effect around the edges. Attachment is opposite. The stem is erect, round or obscurely angled, hairless or minutely hairy, and heavily branched in the upper plant.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of developing fruit] Fruit is an oval capsule slightly longer than the calyx.


Garden Phlox is not considered native to Minnesota, though it is native farther to our south and east. It is very popular in the nursery trade, widely cultivated, and does escape into the wild. In natural areas, it is far taller than any of our native Phlox species, with a bushier panicle of flowers and wider range of flower colors. The leaf shape and venation further distinguish it from other species.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken along a roadside in Winona County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Winona County and in various private gardens.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Amy G. Sullivan - Rochester, MN (Olmsted County)
on: 2022-06-04 20:14:30

Wild purple Garden phlox, with its occasional white variant mixed in, grows in patches all over our city, mostly on hillsides overlooking roads and highways. However, it always blooms in early June (right now), not July or later.

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-06-05 10:36:26

Amy, you are probably seeing dames rocket rather than a phlox. It is widespread along roadsides and other disturbed areas in SE MN and blooms in early June. Phlox flowers have 5 petals, dames rocket has 4.

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