Phlox flowers are known for their vibrant colors and rich fragrances that add charm to any garden.
One of the major challenges gardeners face with these captivating perennials, however, is keeping them in continuous bloom throughout the summer.
With the right combination of proper planting, care, and garden techniques, you can enjoy an endless display of phlox flowers in your garden.
Choosing the appropriate phlox variety plays a significant role in ensuring prolonged blooming.
Certain varieties are known to have longer bloom times than others, and by selecting those, you’re setting the stage for a thriving and colorful garden.
Additionally, understanding the specific needs and characteristics of your chosen phlox variety is key to achieving a flourishing garden throughout the season.
- Select phlox varieties with longer bloom times
- Understand the characteristics and needs of your chosen variety
- Combine proper planting and care techniques for continuous blooms
Choosing the Right Phlox Variety
Perennial vs. Annual Phlox
When it comes to keeping phlox blooming all summer long, your first decision is to choose between perennial and annual phlox. Perennials, like the popular Phlox paniculata, live for several years and return each spring, while annuals, such as Phlox drummondii, complete their lifecycle in one growing season.
Perennial phlox typically displays a longer bloom period, and with proper care, it can last all summer. Meanwhile, annual phlox has a shorter bloom time, but the upside is that it produces more abundant flowers.
For non-stop summer blooms, consider planting both types in your garden, so they complement and extend each other’s flowering periods.
Best Varieties for Extended Blooms
To enjoy phlox flowers throughout summer, it’s crucial to select varieties known for their long bloom period. Here are some top choices:
- Phlox paniculata: This perennial is also called garden phlox and is loved for its large, fragrant flower clusters. Look for cultivars like ‘David,’ ‘Blue Paradise,’ and ‘Red Magic,’ all of which exhibit extended bloom periods.
- Phlox subulata: Commonly known as moss phlox or creeping phlox, this evergreen perennial produces a carpet of colorful blooms in spring. It’s an excellent choice for rock gardens, borders, or groundcover. Some popular cultivars include ‘Candy Stripe,’ ‘Emerald Blue,’ and ‘Scarlet Flame.’
- Phlox drummondii: As an annual phlox, this variety is known for its abundant and vibrant flowers. It’s suitable for pots, containers, or borders. The ‘Phlox 21st Century’ series offers several color options and is touted for its longer blooming period.
Remember that the key to enjoying phlox blooms all summer long is selecting the right variety, providing proper care, and implementing a few simple techniques like deadheading and pruning to encourage continuous flowering.
Proper Planting and Care
To ensure that your phlox blooms all summer long, it’s important to prepare the soil properly before planting. Choose a well-draining soil and mix in organic matter such as compost or aged manure to improve the soil structure. This will provide the nutrients your phlox needs to thrive. It’s also a good idea to test the soil pH, as phlox prefer a slightly acidic to neutral environment (pH 6.0 to 7.0).
Watering and Fertilizing
Consistent watering is key to keeping your phlox in bloom. Aim to provide them with 1 inch of water per week, either through rainfall or supplemental watering. Be sure to water at the base of the plant, not the leaves, to prevent the spread of diseases.
During the growing season, fertilize your phlox every 4-6 weeks with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer (10-10-10 or 14-14-14 NPK ratio). This provides essential nutrients to help maintain strong growth and continuous blooming. Avoid overstimulating foliage growth at the expense of flowers by keeping nitrogen levels in check.
Phlox perform best when they receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. This encourages the production of more flower buds and contributes to an extended blooming period. Make sure to plant them in an area with ample sunlight, taking care to space them properly to promote good air circulation and prevent diseases.
By following these tips on soil preparation, watering and fertilizing, and meeting the sunlight requirements, you’ll set your phlox up for a summer of vibrant, continuous blooms.
Encouraging Continuous Blooms
Deadheading Spent Flowers
To keep your phlox blooming all summer long, it’s important to deadhead the spent flowers.
This means removing the faded blooms before they have a chance to set seed. By doing this, you are encouraging the plant to produce more flowers. Regularly inspect your phlox and use clean, sharp pruning shears to snip off the spent blooms just above the next set of healthy leaves.
Pinching and Pruning
Another helpful practice is pinching and pruning. Early in the season, pinch back the tips of your phlox to promote bushier growth and more blooms. Remove about a third of the growth, cutting just above a set of leaves or a branching point. As the season progresses, make sure to prune any dead or diseased stems and leaves to keep the plant looking healthy and promote more flowering.
Dividing and Replanting
Dividing and replanting your phlox can also contribute to more abundant blooms. Overcrowded plants tend to produce fewer flowers, so dividing them every 3-4 years can refresh the plant and boost flower production. In the spring or fall, carefully dig up the clumps, separate them into smaller sections, and replant them in well-prepared soil with plenty of compost or aged manure.
By following these techniques, you can enjoy the vibrant blooms of your phlox throughout the summer season.