Phlox flower is a popular garden plant with many cultivars that come in every imaginable color. They have stunning purple and white flowers with blue flecks in them. Phlox flowers are commonly used as a border plant. Phlox plants make good rock garden specimens and also grow well under trees and shrubs.
In the wild, phlox flowers have other functions besides being beautiful. Some species of phlox flower are fragrant and attract pollinators that help maintain biodiversity. The plant also acts as a perennial and creates a ground cover that helps prevent erosion along roadsides and in agricultural fields.
The gold standards for phlox flowers are Phlox paniculata ‘Profusion’ and the cascade series of phlox, which produce large clusters of billowing blossoms from spring to fall. This plant prefers light shade and moist, well-drained soil, but phlox flowers grow in almost any condition. In this guide, you will learn how to grow and care phlox flowers.
Why Grow Phlox Flowers?
Phlox flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds with their nectar, but some species of this plant are toxic to deer. Phlox can grow in a wide variety of soil conditions, from dry sand to moist clay. As a ground cover, it is commonly used in shade gardens, so it must be well-drained.
Phlox is an easy-to-grow plant that tolerates most garden conditions but is susceptible to leaf spots and powdery mildew like most plants of the Saxifraga family (Saxifragaceae) such as hosta and heuchera.
Phlox flowers grow well with other shade-tolerant plants such as ferns, astilbe, bleeding hearts (Dicentra spp.), columbines (Aquilegia spp.), and lungworts (Pulmonaria spp.). They also grow well with other plants that like moist soil but not waterlogged conditions.
This includes epimedium, violets (Viola spp.), bleeding hearts (Dicentra spp.), spotted deadnettle (Lamium maculatum), catmint (Nepeta x faasenii), hellebores, and Siberian bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla).
How to grow phlox flowers:
Phlox flowers grow best in fertile, moist soil that drains well. Phlox is not too fussy about light conditions but does best in light shade to full sun. Before planting, amend the soil with compost or aged manure at a rate of 100 lbs. per 1,000 square feet (or 2-3 lbs. per square foot) for best results.
Phlox flowers propagate and spread best by root division and seeds (planted 1/8 inch deep). You can also increase phlox by taking stem cuttings because this will create multiple flowering stems from the same plant. Divide the phlox plant in early spring or fall. The crown should be divided every 3-4 years to ensure the plant is vigorous.
Phlox flowers are among the Best Sellers in many department stores and nurseries, but phlox also grows well in your garden if you know how to grow it properly. This easy-to-grow perennial spreads quickly by underground stems or self-seeding.
Tips for growing phlox flowers:
Phlox is one of the most popular and easiest-to-grow perennials. As long as you know how to grow phlox flowers, they will succeed in your garden.
Harvesting phlox can gently remove individual flower stems with clippers or hand pruners and cut them below the flower bud. They look great in arrangements and are commonly used to make perfumes because the oil extracted from phlox flowers is often used as a base note.
If you do not have room for a large garden, select containers that can be placed against walls outdoors, allowing phlox plants to spill over the edges.
Growing phlox in containers:
To get the most out of your scented or fragrant flowering plants, grow them where you can enjoy their fragrance every day. Try growing fragrant and edible flowers such as lavender (Lavandula spp.), chives (Allium schoenoprasum), marigold (Tagetes spp.), and scented geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) in containers.
Once you have decided on what container to use, choose a good quality potting mix designed for potted plants and herbs. You can also grow your flowers and herbs in window boxes or troughs with holes drilled in the bottom so the potting mix can drain easily.
Grow phlox flowers close to an outdoor wall or fence where you can plant other fragrant plants such as scented geraniums (Pelargonium spp.), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), lavender (Lavandula spp.), and catmint (Nepeta x faasenii) to perfume your garden.
How to care for phlox flowers:
Like many perennials, the most important part of growing phlox is providing them with love and attention. After they have been planted, water them regularly. The soil should be moist but not soggy and for best results, do some weeding and deadheading regularly to promote continued blooming.
Water your phlox every week for approximately 1-2 hours each time to keep the soil moist. Drought is the number one killer of phlox, so watering them regularly is imperative, and following these tips on how to grow phlox flowers. The best way to water your plants is by using a fine-spray rose with a slow-release fertilizer.
You can also feed your phlox with a water-soluble or granular fertilizer in early spring and then again in August after the flowers have finished blooming. Mix the fertilizer at half the recommended strength and water it into your soil to feed your plants and keep them strong, healthy, and full of flowers.
Be sure to increase the bloom time of your phlox by deadheading regularly. Deadheading is the practice of removing spent flowers, so they do not go to seed and then reseeding themselves every year. Removing the flower after it has finished blooming will keep your plant fuller, healthier, and able to produce more flowers for a longer period.
One way to water your garden is by using organic mulches such as bark chips, grass clippings, and shredded leaves that will help retain moisture in the soil and keep the weeds away. Planting phlox in a well weed-free area ensures you won’t have to do too much weeding and killing off unwanted plant material.
If you grow your phlox in a container, make sure the pot has drainage holes to keep the soil moist but not soggy. If you have an issue with slugs or snails, be sure there is no loose soil around the base of your phlox because these pests delight in hiding under it. Use bark chips or stones to prevent this problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you keep phlox blooming?
Watering your plants regularly and feeding them every six weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer is the key to keeping phlox flowers blooming all summer long. Deadheading the spent flowers will also keep your plants healthier and produce more blooms.
Should phlox be cut back after blooming?
No, cutting back the plant after it has flowered can reduce next year’s flower bud production. You should wait until new growth appears in spring before you prune your plants for the first time.
Do phlox flowers come back every year?
Yes, if you grow phlox in the right conditions. They will come back every year as long as you follow these guidelines on caring for phlox flowers.
Now after learning how to grow and care for phlox flowers. Growing phlox can be a rewarding and affordable alternative to growing perennials because they are easy to care for, love full sun and produce beautiful blooms all season long. By providing your plants with love and attention, you can enjoy phlox flowers all summer long.