According to Hibberd, garden phloxes, as illustrated to the left, had no proper existence as a species as they had been derived from so many species.
Phloxes came in many sizes and colours, but by late Victorian times the white phlox was still of poor quality, and as yet there were no blue, scarlet or yellow phloxes.
Gardeners generally dotted phloxes about the garden rather than growing them en masse: “A great lot of phloxes in a lump, as it were, in the garden is like a mouthful of honey – too rich to be enjoyable, and likely to choke one.”
Phloxes were perennials, and best left to over-winter in the ground. They needed to be renewed regularly, and fed frequently. They could also be raised from seed – sown into a pan (or box), and the emerging young plants kept in a pit over winter. If the amateur didn’t want to go to that extreme, then the seeds could be sown in spring and the young plants kept under glass until well grown when they could be planted out to flower.
One of its best attributes in the garden was its ability to survive burning summers when much else failed.
Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols.