Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Phlox drummondii Hook.

Half hardy, erect to spreading annual with purple, pink, red, lavender-blue or white flowers in late spring.  The flowers often have a prominent, contrasting eye.  To 45cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Phlox drummondii has been a popular annual bedding plant from early Victorian times.  According to Paxton’s Magazine of Botany it was introduced to Britain in 1835 by Drummond, and first grown by Mr. Campbell, Curator of the Manchester Botanic Gardens.  [MB p.221/1835].  By 1845 this journal could comment: ‘The varieties of this beautiful half-hardy annual are amongst the greatest ornaments of the pleasure ground in the summer season.  From their rapid spreading growth they are well suited for adorning the raised mounds upon which conifers and other trees are placed in the arboretum, or for the small circles round standard shrubs on a lawn.’  [MB p.191/1845].  ‘As it is an undescribed species, I am desirous that it should bear the name and serve as a frequent memento of its unfortunate discoverer, who, shortly after quitting Texas, fell a victim to the climate of Cuba, in the prime of life, and just as he was on the point of exploring the botanical riches of that portion of the United States, which, next to Texas, held out the best prospect of rewarding his indefatigable exertions, namely, Florida.’  [BM t.3441/1835].  ‘Now there are numerous varieties of this charming flower, all of which are handsome, and succeed well in a compost of equal parts of loam, peat, and leaf-mould, and a slight covering over the surface of the bed, between the plants, is essential to cuccess in hot weather.  I have done it with neat moss, which is kept in its place with small sticks pricked in.  If the soil become much heated by hot sun, the plants siin die.’  [FC p.133/1850].  FC p.49/1836.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [H.182/1850].  Seed of a large crimson variety was ordered from Warner & Warner, Seedsmen and Florists, Cornhill, on 8th April 1846 [MP A2933-1, p.131].  Seeds were also ordered from Hurst and McMullen, Seedsmen and Florists of London, on 8th April 1846, ‘in many beautiful shades of colour’, plus a new scarlet variety [MP A2933-1, p.132].  


Published Feb 06, 2009 - 04:13 PM | Last updated Jul 29, 2010 - 05:11 PM

Illustrated are 5-petalled single flowers in shades of red and pink.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.3441, 1835.

Phlox drummondii Hook. | BM t.3441/1835 | BHL

Family Polemoniaceae
Region of origin


Common Name

Annual Phlox

Name in the Camden Park Record

Phlox Drummondii 

Confidence level high