These are annual or perennial plants native to North America, blueberry family, widely distributed in many European countries. The genus includes about 85 species, and only half of them are grown as horticultural crops.
The herbaceous plant is from 40 cm to 1.2 m in height, (the height varies depending on the species). Dwarf varieties grow from 25 to 30 cm. Their flowers are so abundant that they can completely cover the flower bed. The erect or creeping stems end in numerous tubular flowers, 2-3 cm in diameter. The variously colored flowers have a great decorative effect.
The shape of the petal may be needle-shaped or round. Terry phloxes with flowers 2-4 cm in diameter. Lush flowering pleases the eye from May to September. Under favorable weather conditions, the annual type of phlox blooms very profusely and for a long time. On fragile shoots, such a large number of tender buds open that they cover all the foliage and the surface of the earth.
Intense green leaves are oval-lanceolate. On the run they are placed opposite. Seeds ripen in an oval-shaped box.
Phlox how to care for them
Phloxes, which are easy to care for, grow well in any climatic conditions, due to the variety of species. This plant is easy to grow and very hardy. Prefers full sun, but can also grow in partial shade, especially in areas with very hot summers, which helps to prolong flowering considerably. Phlox tolerate high and low temperatures up to 7 ° C.
For growing phlox, it is necessary to prepare loose soil into which air and water easily penetrate. The ideal soil is fertile, enriched with humus, with a neutral pH. They tolerate poor and not very wet soils, but well-drained. On poor soils, fertilizers must be applied periodically.
Planting phlox should be carried out in the spring. Seedlings are planted in May in a sunny place, at a distance of 15-20 cm from each other.
Phlox transplantation in open ground
planting, phlox does not require special care. It is enough to water it regularly, keeping the soil moist. They can withstand short-term drying of the soil.
Phlox grow very fast. They need to be watered regularly, and once a month fed with a complex mineral fertilizer.
Note! It is recommended to water at least 2 times a week, especially in summer. The root system needs constant watering especially in the development phase.
It is important to avoid standing water. Drainage will help prevent waterlogging of the soil. Drainage material is poured with a layer of 1 cm. Broken brick or expanded clay can be taken as drainage.
The plant needs constant feeding. Feed them with granular fertilizer during the flowering period. It is good to mulch with compost to add nutrients to the soil.
Phlox does not need regular pruning. For better flowering, dried inflorescences must be removed. In early autumn, wilted buds are removed and the ends of the branches are trimmed to encourage flowering next year. By spring, the plant will accumulate more nutrients and release strong new shoots.
They are propagated by seeds, cuttings, basal shoots and division of bunches. Common propagation is the division of rhizomes in spring and autumn. For perennial species, it is preferable to use basal shoots in early spring or September, when the roots contain the largest supply of nutrients.
Division of rhizomes
Phlox can be fairly easily propagated by cuttings taken from various parts of the plant.
Growing phlox from seed
Seed propagation is becoming popular. For this, yellowed seed pods are collected in mid-September. They are cut off along with the shoot and placed in a paper bag for ripening. Then cleaned and stored in a dry place until sowing. Germination lasts up to 4 years after harvest. Hybrids marked “F1” are not suitable for seed collection, as they do not retain varietal characteristics in subsequent generations.
The seeds of this flower can be sown directly into the ground, but can be grown through seedlings. Growing phlox from seedlings allows them to bloom earlier and longer than when sown in the ground. They tolerate transplant well. Sowing is carried out in March indoors. Seedlings are planted on the beds in late April – early May. Through seedlings, it is possible to grow varieties of not only annual phloxes, but also perennials.
They are pre-soaked in a solution for seed germination and spread out on the surface of moist soil, pressed down a little. Sowing can be done randomly, or the seeds are placed at a distance of 3-4 cm.
Cover the container with glass or film, and put in a lighted place. Ventilate daily and remove condensate. After 7-10 days, they germinate, and after the appearance of two true leaves, they swoop down. This is a feature of growing phlox from seeds. If you follow these rules, then the shoots will be friendly.
Note! Phlox seeds are quite large, with a dense outer shell. They germinate only on the surface of the soil and in the light.
Phlox seedling care after germination
After the emergence of seedlings, you need to remove the cover and lower the temperature by a few degrees. With the help of a sprayer, the soil is kept moist, trying not to get water on the plants themselves. Water as the top layer of the earth dries up.
When growing seedlings, the following conditions are observed:
- in the phase of 3 leaves, a pick is made;
- after rooting, they are fed with nitrogen fertilizers to increase leaf mass;
- in the sixth leaf phase, pinch off the tips to give the plant a bushy appearance;
- three weeks before planting in open ground, seedlings are hardened in the fresh air starting from 1 hour, and increasing to 10 hours a day;
- plant outdoors after the threat of frost has passed.
Prepared seedlings are planted in a permanent place with a distance between bushes of 40-70 cm.
They can be transplanted when they have two or three true leaves. From the total capacity they are transferred to single cups. To avoid damage to the roots, you need to water the plants a few hours before the procedure.
The seedling, together with a piece of earth, is placed in a hole, covered with earth and compacted. At the end of the pick, the roots are watered, trying not to get on the plants themselves.
Note! When diving, weak and rotten seedlings should be culled.
Diseases and pests
Phloxes are quite resistant to diseases and pests, but they can be affected by aphids, which damage leaves and flowers. In this case, it is necessary to intervene by washing the plant with a sponge to eliminate the parasites. You can use special pesticides.
Phlox diseases can occur through excessive moisture. If fungal diseases occur, they must be dealt with by introducing fungicides. As a prevention of fungal infection, plants are watered with colloidal sulfur. Affected phloxes are treated twice with Bordeaux liquid with an interval of 15 days. Shrubs showing signs of powdery mildew and variegation are immediately dug up and burned to prevent the spread of the disease.
Phlox subulate about 15 – 17 cm high. Undersized phloxes grow to form dense mats. It covers large areas with small flowers up to 2 cm in diameter, collected in small inflorescences of pink, lilac, white, purple color.
Perennial phlox paniculata is one of the most popular species. They can grow over 150 cm in height. This type of phlox attracts with its bright inflorescences, with a pleasant honey aroma.
Phlox splayed. The bushes are low, up to 30 cm, the stems are thin, flexible, creeping. It blooms in spring with lush hats of blue or lilac flowers. Flowering lasts 3-4 weeks. Grows well in the shade.
What do phlox plantings combine with?
You can plant several varieties and types of phlox at once. They can also get along with peonies and lilies. The front garden will look beautiful if you plant phloxes along with marigolds. Decorative flowers bring aesthetic pleasure. A variety of annual and perennial phlox flowers are really beautiful!