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Charming Phlox

With their long flowering period, phlox are ideal for easy-care summer gardens.

With their long flowering period, phlox are ideal for easy-care summer gardens.

 

 

Looking for a brightly coloured display of profusely blooming flowers? Try growing Phlox.

Here is an old fashioned annual that deserves more recognition than it gets. The large clusters of flowers are very showy on compact plants. Compact is an understatement, as these plants grow only 15-30 cm tall. The most common Phlox is annual. There are also perennial varieties.

Despite their small size, phlox make good cut flowers, and are great in containers or window boxes. A native of North America, the jewel-like flowers grow in clusters at the top of the stems. These bright coloured blossoms include shades of red, purple, scarlet, yellow, and white. Many new hybrids include striped petals.

Phlox are easily grown from seeds. Phlox seeds can be directly seeded into your flower garden or seeded under cover for transplanting later. For spring blooms, start indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost. Young seedlings will transplant well into their permanent home.

Sow phlox seeds early in the season and cover lightly with 2mm of fine garden or potting soil. Water thoroughly .

Transplant phlox into your garden after the last frost date for your area. Space them 20-30cm apart. They will tolerate a little crowding. They will look great filling in a flowerbed, or as a border edging.

Phlox like full sun. They prefer rich, loose soil that drains well. Add a general-purpose fertilizer when planting them, then once a month after that. Once your phlox plants are established, they should grow well with few problems. Keep the soil moist to slightly dry. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week. Keep them well weeded.  Apply a 5cm layer of mulch for a tidy appearance. Pinch back tall stems to promote a bushier appearance.

Remove spent blooms to promote further flowering and extend the blooming period all summer long, and right up to the first killing frost. This will also keep the appearance neat and beautiful. Phlox are hardy annuals. They will often survive the first few light frosts.

Phlox will grow well in windowsill planters, or containers on your patio or deck. They can be good as cut flowers, too, if cut when flowers have just opened.