Native: Many of the garden phloxes are native and you can find ones that do best in your area. Blue Paradise, Blue Moon Woodland Phlox and Home Fires Creeping Phlox are just some of the phlox varieties that you can enjoy in your native garden.
Color: The garden phlox is available in a range of colors from white to red to purple and blue so there is one to fit almost any garden color scheme. Berry colored Red Super works well against a backdrop of quieter colors such as white hydrangeas. whereas the pretty pink of Flamingo works well with other pastel cleomes or with a backdrop of an evergreen shrub.
Scent: Phlox is famous for its perfumy aroma, lending its delicious vanilla-clove scent to the garden, and to any room where it's been cut and placed in a vase. Plant phlox where you can walk past them, sit near them, or enjoy from your window.
Growing Phlox from Seed: Some of the garden phlox varieties come true from seed, many do not. This includes both annual and perennial phlox varieties. Some that do come true from seed each year include Drummondii variety which is bright red and native to Texas, as well as the Blue Flame which is a delightful blue color.
With so many varieties to choose from you can find the perfect one for your garden and most people can find more than one for different parts of their landscape.
Growing Phlox From Seed
In warmer areas try sowing the seed in fall rather than in spring, but in areas with very cold winters (zones 5 and lower) start the seeds about two months before your last spring frost date. Annual phlox will germinate in about a week, while the perennials take up to a month to germinate. The seeds should be kept covered and in the dark to germinate (try putting the seed tray in a black garbage bag to keep it dark).
When the seeds germinate, put them in full sun just like your other seedlings and keep them moist. The perennial phlox seedlings can be put into the garden when they are large enough to handle easily. They do grow slowly the first year and usually do not bloom until year 2. Annual phlox will bloom the first year and set seed which can be collected or, in mild areas, left to self-seed for next year.
Dividing Phlox Like A Pro
Creeping phlox are spring-blooming, so should be divided after they have bloomed. Dig a spade vertically into the groundcover and gently lift one part up. Take this part of the plant and replant in another area of the garden.
For garden phlox, the best time to divide is early spring when the plant is coming out of dormancy and you can clearly see how large they have spread. Again, dig down and lift one piece of the plant out and plant in another area.
About the Author: Kate Copsey is a garden writer, educator and speaker. She is also the author of The Downsized Veggie Garden: How to Garden Small – Wherever You Live, Whatever Your Space.
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