How to Grow Tall Garden Phlox for a Late Summer Bloom
Plant Named Tall Phlox, Garden Phlox and Paniculata Phlox
Phlox have been a favorite flower for years. Paniculata is also known as Tall Phlox or Garden Phlox. You can see many old abandoned houses with it growing in the yard and the plants have spread along roadsides and grows wild. The older phlox is pretty, but more prone to disease than many of the newer varieties.
Paniculata phlox grows tall. It is much like the creeping phlox, other than its growth habit. The flowers look much the same.I have 5 different varieties in my own garden, because they make such a big show when they bloom. This is one flower you should include in any perennial bed.
Characteristics of Phlox
Plox is a perennial that will return year after year. It is available in many pretty colors. Included are lavenders, orange, various shades of purple, pinks, red, white, and salmon. You can find phlox that are bi-colored and those with eyes. A new variety called Candy twist is even striped.
The plants bloom in July and August. Newer ones are advertised to bloom in September. Be sure to check that the variety you purchase is mildew resistant. This is a disease that is common to phlox. Many varieties say they are and mildew is still a problem.
Before purchasing your plants, check the tags for hardiness zones. Most phlox are a hardy perennial plants in Zone 4-8. Look at the tag on the plant before purchasing, because some varieties are available for hardiness to Zone 2 and some will withstand the heat in Zone 9.
The plant can reach 2 to 5 feet depending on the variety. Many are fragrant. They attract lots of hummingbirds and butterflies.
The plants will grow in 24" to 36” mounds, so keep this in mind when planting. Some can grow as tall as 5 feet. You may want to plant it near a fence or somewhere where it will get some support.Caging them is also a good idea Phlox grows tall enough that a strong wind will blow the plants down and cause some damage.I cut mine down in the spring, so they don't grow so tall and are more bushy This has worked for me without caging.
Look for a spot that gets at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight a day. Phlox love the sun, but will grow in partial shade. You want to plant them in rich ground. If the ground isn't rich, be sure to add some composted cow manure. The can be purchased at any gardening center.
Growing Phlox - gardenvilletv on Youtube
How to Care for Phlox
It is a good idea to thin the branches every spring. Cutting some of the top growth down in the early spring will help it be a stronger plant. Do this several months before the blossom buds start forming.
These plants like lots of water, but don't water from the top. This would encourage disease. Instead water from the bottom.
The plants should be cut down in the fall.
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Phlox Plant Diseases and Pests
The main disease you'll have problems with, as mentioned above is powdery mildew. This can be prevented by spraying with sulfur every couple of weeks. Your plants may also develop root rot. If you purchase varieties resistant to powdery mildew and see that the plant gets plenty of air, you won't have to deal with that either.
Insects that may bother your plants are spider mites, stem nematodes, leaf miners and caterpillars. You may not have these problems either, unless you are already having the problem with your other perennials..
Divide the plants in the spring and fall. These plants are easy to propagate from cuttings. Since you should thin the branches in the spring, this will give you lots of starts. To be sure that all branches start, use a rooting hormone. Phlox can also be started from seeds.
Phlox are so easy to propagate, that one year I tried to start all of the cuttings after trimming in the spring. I figured they wouldn't all start. I ended up with enough to share with friends and made some good pocket money selling them at my garage sale. So take it easy when propagating.