If you’re looking for a fun, easy-care plant to brighten up your garden, then this could be the perfect choice. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s incredibly resilient and can thrive in even the most challenging conditions. Phlox is one of my favorite perennials and I’ve planted it in nearly every one of my flower gardens. It is so cheerful and brings a smile to my face anytime I see it.
In this guide, I’ve compiled everything you need to know about planting and caring for phlox. From learning about its ideal growing conditions to caring for your phlox once it’s established, you’ll find all the information you need right here. So let’s get started and learn how to bring this gorgeous plant into your landscape!
What is phlox?
Phlox is a beautiful and unique perennial flower native to North America that blooms during the summer months. Its stems are lined with delicate petals that have a sweet, fragrant aroma. The plants produce abundant blooms for weeks in the summer and into early fall, making them an excellent choice for an extra bit of beauty in your garden!
Plus, they attract pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds—so planting some these flowers can be a great way to give back to nature. If you want a low-maintenance flower that will brighten up your garden, then the phlox is a perfect choice!
What are the different types of phlox?
The most common variety of phlox is the white-petaled, yellow-centered one. However, there are also varieties with pink petals and even red centers. Along with different colors, phlox also comes in different sizes and growing patterns.
Popular phlox types:
Garden phlox — This is the most common phlox flower. It grows in upright clumps that can reach up to 3 feet tall in vibrant colors such as lavender, pink, rose, red, and white. This is perfect for cut flowers and bouquets.
Creeping phlox — This variety grows in low-lying clumps. It’s perfect for using as a ground cover or adding texture to your garden beds. Many people use this in rock gardens or anywhere they need a dose of low-profile color.
Woodland phlox — This variety of is technically a type of creeping phlox but it is more partial to part shade. It’s perfect for adding texture to wooded areas or as an edging plant around the base of trees and shrubs.
This flower will look wonderful in a sunny area of your garden or as an edging plant along pathways. Most types of phlox prefer about six hours of direct sunlight, but these plants are very hardy and will usually thrive in most growing conditions.
When should you plant phlox?
Phlox is best planted in the spring, when temperatures have warmed and the ground has thawed. This will give them plenty of time to establish their roots before the summer months when they bloom.
Should you grow from seed or plant?
Growing phlox from seed is possible but takes some patience and practice. It’s best to purchase young plants that are already established. Plant them as soon as possible after purchase, ensuring they get adequate amount of sunlight and water.
How to plant:
- Prepare the soil by loosening it up with a shovel or trowel.
- Add compost.
- Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the root ball of your plant and place it in the ground.
- Gently press down on the dirt around the base of the plant, giving it a good start.
- Water the soil and keep it moist, but not soggy.
- Space plants about one to two feet apart.
How to care for phlox
Deadhead spent flowers and prune leggy stems to promote more blooms. During dry periods, when you receive less than 1 inch of rain per week, water regularly. Water when the soil is dry and mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture.
In the fall, cut the plants back to about six inches above the ground and mulch heavily. This will help protect them from winter temperatures, allowing them to come roaring back in the spring!
Like other perennials, you should divide phlox in the spring every 3-4 years to keep your plants looking their best. Dividing perennials also prevents overcrowding and encourages a more vibrant, full bloom.
Is it susceptible to pests and disease?
Fortunately, phlox is not very susceptible to pests and diseases. However, it can fall victim to powdery mildew and leaf spots in certain warm, humid climates. Powdery mildew is the most common issue.
It is a grayish-white coating that appears on the upper surface of leaves and can eventually harm the plant. To prevent mildew, avoid overhead watering and give your plant plenty of air circulation.
Keep an eye out for signs of infestation or disease, such as wilting leaves or discolored spots on the flower petals. If you notice any signs, act quickly to address the problem. Good air circulation and proper care will help prevent disease. You can also apply natural fungicide treatments, such as copper sulfate or baking soda, if needed.
Will phlox self-seed?
Yes, phlox will self-seed and can pop up in unexpected places! If you’re not looking to spread the flower around your garden, it may be worth cutting off the seed heads before they mature. The offshoots may also be low-quality and weedy so they could become an eyesore if left alone.
Other tips and tricks for success
- Snip the stems and put flowers in a vase for a beautiful display.
- Plant in groups to create a stunning, low-maintenance border.
- Phlox is an excellent companion plant; it helps to protect tomatoes from pests such as whitefly and aphids.
- Plant in nutrient-rich soil that has been amended with compost or manure.
Phlox: The perfect fuss-free perennial
Caring for phlox is simple and rewarding and it provider stunning blooms throughout the summer months. With some basic knowledge, a little bit of patience, and some TLC you will be rewarded with lush clumps of beautiful blooms that will bring lasting beauty to your garden. So, if you’re looking for an easy-care, beautiful perennial flower, look no further than phlox!
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