Phlox

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Phlox

White Phlox
Pixabay

Phlox are perennials and a favorite choice among wildflowers. These plants sport many star-shaped, colorful flowers when in bloom.

Because there are so many varieties, you can find a type of phlox for almost any garden. Phlox make great ground cover, and you can compliment them with other varieties of ground cover. They are easy to care for and low maintenance. Add some phlox to any bouquet for some nice fragrance, too.

Planting

  • Use a garden fork or tiller to prepare your garden bed. Loosen the soil to about 12 to 15 inches deep, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.
  • It is easier to grow phlox from cuttings/transplants than seeds.
  • Plant phlox in the spring and space the plants 1 to 2 feet apart. If you are moving a plant from a pot, dig a hole about twice the size of the pot’s diameter and place the plant so that the top of the root ball is even with the soil’s surface. Fill in around the root ball and remember to water it thoroughly.

There are three different categories for growth requirements:

  1. Border phlox (like Carolina phlox, Meadow phlox, and Garden phlox) like moist, well-drained, and average to rich soil, and full to partial sun.
  2. Low, mounding phlox (like Sand phlox and Chattahoochee) like average, well-drained, sandy or loamy soil, and full sun.
  3. Woodland species (like Blue phlox and Creeping phlox) like evenly moist, humus-rich soil, and full to partial sun.

Creeping phlox
Creeping phlox

Care

  • If you receive less than 1 inch of rain a week, remember to regularly water your plants throughout the summer.
  • Each spring, put a thin layer of compost and a 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants to help keep the soil moist and control weeds.
  • Remember to remove the dead/faded flowers so that your plants can rebloom.
  • If you have tall phlox, cut the stems back to about 1 to 2 inches above the soil after the first killing frost. (See local frost dates.) Divide tall garden phlox every 2 to 3 years to ensure healthy and disease-free plants.

Pests/Diseases

  • Powdery mildew
  • Stem canker
  • Rust
  • Southern blight
  • Stem nematodes
  • Leaf spots
  • Leaf miners
  • Caterpillars

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

Native Americans called April’s full Moon the “Full Pink Moon” because it heralded the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox—one of the first spring flowers.

Planting Times

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Phlox

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