Phlox is a plant that produces delicate star-shaped masses of white, pink, red, purple or blue flowers. A blooming ornamental beloved by birds and butterflies, it’s a beautiful addition to any garden. Phlox is a genus of 67 species of perennial and annual plants in the family Polemoniaceae. They bloom all season long and do well in the winter sun.
Choosing Your Phlox
If you’re going to use phlox plants in your garden, choose the color and height that fits best with your landscaping plan. Some low-growing varieties make a lovely ground cover, while taller plants can be used as a backdrop for shorter ones. If you’re buying phlox from a home and garden store, it’s best to pick a plant that has more buds than blooms.
- Botanical Name: Phlox paniculata
- Varieties: Creeping phlox or Moss phlox (Phlox subulata), Woodland phlox or Blue phlox (Phlox divaricata), Annual phlox or Drummond’s phlox(Phlox drummondii), Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata)
- Flower colors: white, pink, red, purple, blue
- Design Ideas: Phlox can be grown in gardens as a hedging or edging, containers or window boxes.
- Life-Cycle: Perennial and annual species
- Height: 10 inches to 1 feet.
- Width/Spread: 6-36 inches
- Flowering season: spring to summer
- Flower: Star-shaped, colorful delicate flowers. They are pale blue, violet, pink, bright red to white and most of them are fragrant.
- Foliage: Evergreen to semi-evergreen needle-like foliage which is either linear or awl-shaped and densely arranged, creating a prickly effect.
- Sunlight: Although phlox flowers best when given full sun but doesn’t mind a bit of shade. As a general rule, aim for about 6 hours of sun exposure daily.
- Water: Phlox doesn’t like drought and should be watered during dry spells or whenever you see the foliage begin to wilt. Ideally, phlox should receive about an inch of water per week during the growing season. To keep the foliage healthy, water at the root zone rather than overhead.
- Soil: Grow in moist, fertile, well-drained soil enriched with compost or other organic matter. Phlox prefers slightly alkaline soil.
- Pruning and deadheading: Phlox doesn’t normally require pruning, but if you want to delay blooming and get bushier plants with more flower heads, pinch or cut back the stems by one-third to one-half in early summer. Deadheading the spent flowers may also extend the bloom period and prevent unwanted reseeding.
- Keep soil moist by watering thoroughly on a regular basis
- Water the soil rather than phlox foliage to aid in disease prevention.
- If you must water overhead, water early in the morning so plants will dry rapidly in the sun.
- Spread two to three inches of mulch after the soil warms in mid- to late June to keep the soil cool and damp, and to reduce weed growth.
- Once stems are about six inches tall, eliminate all but five or six stems per plant, then pinch back the growing tips of those remaining stems (you’ll find they become more robust, produce larger clusters of flowers, and are less bothered by powdery mildew.)
Pests and Diseasse: Pests feeding on phlox include aphids, beetles, caterpillars, spider mites and whiteflies. Most of these pests can significantly injure garden phlox as it is susceptible to pathogens like powdery mildew. Cutting back stems after flowering can also help to reduce the spread of powdery mildew, as can choosing mildew-resistant varieties.
Harvest: A few phlox flowers should be allowed to remain on the plant to allow their petals to drop off and the seed pod to mature till it turns brown. Then, the seed pods can be snipped from the plant and the pod needs to be cracked open to collect the seeds.
By seed: Phlox seeds can plant it directly in the ground or in a container. You can also start it indoors and later can transplant. To enjoy the spring bloom, start it indoor the 6 -8 weeks before the last frost. You can transplant young plants in permanent places in the garden.
By division :The easiest way to clone your garden phlox is by division. Simply dig up the plants in early spring or late summer and separate the clumps into sections with a sharp knife and replant immediately. Each division should contain at least 3 or 4 shoots and a portion of the root system. It’s also possible to propagate phlox from stem cuttings taken in early summer.
Are phlox growing in your garden? Consider these tips for Growing Phlox in your garden and see how beautiful it can be!
In the comment section below, tell us about your experience with this elegant and beautiful phlox.