Phlox - How to care for and grow your Phlox



Phlox drummondithe

There Phlox is a splendid plant that forms colorful flower cushions throughout the summer.






: Angiosperms


: Eudicotyledons


: Asteris











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The kind Phloxof the family Polemoniaceae, native to North America and Asia, include both annual and perennial herbaceous species, rustic or partially rustic, large or dwarf.In fact, we can find more or less tall erect plants, pillows or small shrubs.

They are plants particularly suitable for borders or to create beautiful flower beds even if in Italy they are not particularly widespread unlike America and the rest of Europe.They are in fact species that have very dense foliage that makes the flower beds particularly rich.

THE flowers, gathered in panicle inflorescences are flat, mostly with the tubular base that opens at the top into 5 parts that are arranged to form a sort of star.

The leaves they are simple, linear, whole, mostly light green in color and sometimes opposite. Often the leaves placed in the upper part of the stem are arranged alternately.

Pillow-forming species are typical of arid areas and bloom in spring or early summer while cooler climate species are mostly drooping and bloom in early summer. Taller species typically grow along streams and bloom in mid-summer.

They are plants particularly suitable for adorning rock gardens.


There are about 67 species in the genus Phlox that with their hybrids, they offer us a great variety of plants with the most different bearing. The most cultivated species are:


There Phlox Drummondii(photo below) is an annual plant native to Texas suitable for growing in mild climates. It reaches a height of 20-40 cm with an erect stem and blue flowers but you can find varieties with pink, purple or white flowers gathered in very dense racemes even 8 cm wide that bloom all summer, from July to September.

The leaves are lanceolate and of a beautiful light green color.

Within this species we distinguish several varieties among which the most common are: Phlox Drummondii 'Stellaris' with pointed petals so that the flower takes the shape of a star; Phlox Drummondii 'Grandiflora' the most widespread and valuable with very large flowers up to 30 cm high; there Phlox Drummondii 'Nana compacta' which owes its name to the fact that it has a very compact and dense appearance.


There Phlox paniculata (photo below) is native to eastern America and is a perennial species. It is a plant that reaches even one meter in height, very rustic. It can be successfully grown in areas where temperatures drop to as low as -5 -10 ° C. The leaves are lanceolate and the flowers are gathered in very dense panicles and bloom from June to September to give us a flowering summer. The most widespread species is with red flowers although there are numerous varieties with pink, mauve, white flowers with red throat, salmon color, pink with red throat.

Despite being a perennial species, in reality after five years, the plant begins to appear stunted, the inflorescences become sparse and the flowers smaller and smaller, so much so that it is appropriate to renew the plant.

The peculiarity of this species is that the flowers change color throughout the day: they are blue / blue in the early morning, red during the day to return to blue / blue in the evening. The color variation occurs only in the upper part of the petal and is dependent on the variations that the light undergoes during the day.


There Phlox subulata (photo below) is an evergreen perennial species that forms low and dense cushions. The leaves are hairy with a shape ranging from elliptical to bright green oval.

The flowers are flat, purple and sometimes purple / purple, lilac, pink, or white. It blooms from late spring and throughout the summer with little dense buds. Also of this species there are many hybrids that differ from each other for the different color of the flowers and for their shape.


The plants of Phlox they are quite rustic and do not require special care.

As we have specified in the introduction, we can have annual species and perennial species (although in this case, it is not appropriate to keep them more than 5 years as they lose their grace and beauty over time). In the case of perennial species, it is advisable, in cool climate areas, to mulch the soil, that is to say, cover the soil with leaves or manure and cut weak or damaged branches in the spring.

They are plants that prefer sunny positions even if, in particularly hot and sunny areas, it would be preferable to shelter them from direct sun in the hottest hours of summer days because it could lead to a shorter flowering period.

In particularly tall species it is advisable to equip the plants with an inconspicuous stake such as a bamboo cane so as not to disturb the view, to prevent wind and other things from making the stem recline.


During the period of active growth, from spring and throughout the summer the Phlox they should be watered regularly. It is advisable to proceed with the next irrigation as soon as the soil dries up, especially for younger plants. The plants that are already adult, on the other hand, can bear short periods of drought even if, by watering regularly, the plant will be more vigorous and will give more generous blooms.


The Phlox it is good to cultivate them in a fertile soil rich in organic substance but well drained as they do not like water stagnation.

They prefer a fresh and rich soil, well worked and enriched with manure or with decaying organic material.


Every two weeks from spring and throughout the summer it is advisable to fertilize plants using a fertilizer to be dissolved in irrigation water specific for flowering plants, i.e. particularly rich in potassium (k) and phosphorus (P) compared to nitrogen (N). During the other periods of the year, suspend the fertilizations.


They are plants that cannot be pruned. Only the leaves that dry up or get damaged are eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for disease.


The Phlox they are very generous flowering plants. They give us summers that are colorful and full of flowers. In fact, flowering generally lasts from June / July (depending on the variety to which we refer) until September.

It is advisable to eliminate the flowers as they wither to favor the birth of new shoots.

Phlox drummondi hybrids


Plants of Phlox they multiply by sowing in annual species, by cutting in multi-annual species.

When choosing how to propagate a plant, it must be borne in mind that multiplication by seed does not allow to have plants identical to the mother plant as genetic variability takes over therefore, if you want to obtain a precise specimen or are not sure of the quality of the seed, multiplication by cuttings.


At the beginning of spring, in March, stem cuttings 8-10 cm long are taken. They should be cut immediately under a leaf and the lower leaves should be eliminated. Also choose them from robust and healthy plants. It is recommended to cut obliquely as this allows for a greater surface for rooting and avoids the accumulation of water. on this surface.Use a razor blade or a sharp knife to avoid fraying of the fabrics.Make sure that the tool you use for cutting is clean and disinfected (preferably with a flame) to avoid infecting the fabrics and disinfect it with each cut.

Subsequently arrange the cuttings in a composite platform in equal parts of peat and coarse sand. Make a hole with a pencil and place the cutting at a depth such as to ensure that they remain underground until the next node. Then take care to gently compact the topsoil.

The box or pot is covered with a transparent plastic sheet (or a bag with a cap) and is placed in the shade and at a temperature around 18-21 ° C, taking care to keep the soil always slightly moist (always water without wet the rooting seedling with water at room temperature). Remove the plastic every day, check the soil moisture and eliminate condensation from the plastic.

Once the first sprouts begin to appear, it means that your cutting has rooted at that point, remove the plastic and plant them in the final pot of about 10 cm in diameter as indicated for adult plants. The new plants can be planted in the open ground the following year.


This type of multiplication foresee the removal of portions of roots preferably in the months of February-March. These are put in pots at about 15 ° C from which young shoots will be born that will allow themselves to be strengthened and after a year they can be planted.


This type of multiplication takes place for annual species. Sowing takes place in spring (March-April) and the seedlings will be planted after one year.

The seeds can be planted in a tray containing equal parts peat and sand and placed in the shade at a temperature of 13-18 ° C, and must be kept constantly moist (moistened with a sprayer that will guarantee more uniform watering) until the time of germination.

It is advisable to cover the tray with a transparent plastic sheet that will guarantee a good temperature and prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.When the seeds sprout, remove the plastic sheet and as the seedlings grow, increase the amount of light (never direct sun), ensure good ventilation and be careful to maintain good air humidity as the young plants are easily subject to desiccation due to their slender stems. Among all the plants born, eliminate the less vigorous ones in order to guarantee more space for the more robust plants.When they are large enough to be handled, transplant them into small individual containers, being very careful not to damage any part of the plant (use a fork as " shovel "). To have a beautiful flowering of the young seedlings it is advisable to trim them as soon as they produce a certain number of leaves: in this way the seedling will emit numerous lateral shoots forming a small cushion of leaves.

After about a year, the seedlings can be planted and can be treated as indicated for adult specimens.


They are not particularly disease-prone plants. Among the parasites that can annoy the plant we have:

Presence of a whitish patina on the green parts of the plant

This symptom is to be associated with a fungal attack and in particular an attack of bad white caused by fungus.The disease first manifests itself with a white mold and then the leaves turn yellow and fall until the plant dies.

Remedies: if caught in time, this disease is not fatal and it is sufficient to eliminate the affected parts. However, if the attack is particularly serious, use specific pesticides (To learn more about them and the fight against these parasites go to the page dedicated to them).

Presence of galls at the level of the root system

The root-knot nematodes that can quickly lead the plant to death are very fearsome. In fact, these are parasitic worms (there are several species) from whose eggs the larvae are born that penetrate the roots of the plant within which they grow and feed causing the formation of galls, that is to say very evident swellings in the roots.

The plant on the outside will appear withered with yellowed and withered leaves while at the level of the root system you will notice the galls (hence the name of root-knot nematodes) due to the proliferation of the plant's cells, stimulated by the presence of the worm.

Remedies: at the end of the crops it is necessary to uproot the infested plants and burn them and treat the soil with specific products against nematodes. A good rule of thumb, especially for sensitive plants, is to adopt good soil management and the right agronomic practices: do not always place the same plants in the same soil but rotate them with plants that are not very sensitive to nematode attack; avoid water stagnation and make sure you have a well-draining soil; use certified seeds so that they can give vigorous plants.


The tallest species of Phlox they are used to have cut flowers.

Look at what a spectacle, this garden with the Phlox drummondii.

The campanula or campanella is part of the Campanulaceae family, campanula genus and includes a large number of plants. We can admire the bluebells in the balconies with a cascading aspect or in the vases. But also planted directly in the garden in the open ground.

The bellflower is a graceful herbaceous plant, with a hanging or climbing habit depending on the use. It is characterized by rounded leaves with a toothed margin, of a beautiful bright green, and creeping stems with a woody structure, up to 50 cm long. The blue or lilac flowers are starry bells that bloom in succession. Depending on the species, it blooms from May to September. Plants obtained from seeds flower after about 2 years.

The bluebells all come from the temperate areas of the northern hemisphere, in particular from Europe and Turkey.

These are evergreen plants, generally rustic, whose cultivation is indicated both indoors and outdoors.



The real ace in the Phlox's sleeve is the flowering that begins when the heat begins, and when the other blooms stop, giving flowers of a wide palette of colors: whites, pinks, violets, reds. When flowering comes on stage, tufts of buds begin to form on the stems, which give life to large inflorescences of about twenty colorful flowers. Panicles, as they are called, last a long time, renewing the individual flowers inside them as the days go by. The plant blooms profusely, until the end of August and beyond, and more and more with the passing of the years and the increase in the size of the clump. If it has room to grow it is a plant that lives long and gives incredible results.

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Phlox paniculata Europa, also called garden phlox, is one of the most beautiful lively summer plants with a long, fragrant flowering. You will be seduced by its clusters of pale pink flowers with a deeper pink heart. Very easy to grow, it is perfect in flower beds and borders and provides excellent cut flowers.

Climbing summer flowers

Climbing summer flowers are the perfect solution for embellishing verandas, terraces, pergolas and gardens. In fact, these are species that love to grow in height, wrapping poles, pergolas and fences with their sinuous branches.

Here are some summer vines to grow in the garden or on the balcony.

  • Allamanda Cathartica. Originally from the Amazon, it is a climber of the family of Apocynaceae. This specific variety features elongated, thick, glossy oval leaves with bright green undertones. In summer it produces abundant yellow funnel-shaped flowers. It loves exposure to all the sun and mild temperatures. The ideal soil is humid and therefore should be watered often, especially in periods of great drought. It can also be grown in pots, but in the open ground it will bloom more profusely.

  • Thladiantha dubia. Very rustic ornamental creeper from China. Belonging to the family of Cucurbits, It features dense green foliage and small bell-shaped, deep yellow flowers. It grows very quickly (in some North American countries it is even considered a weed), so its cultivation is quite simple, both in pots and in the ground. The attentions to be had are: expose it well to the sun, keep it constantly irrigated and shelter it from the cold in winter. Also avoid pruning it, but limit yourself to supporting the growth of the branches by directing them.

  • Bomarea caldasii. Native to tropical countries, it is a highly scenic plant. The climber consists of a liana that develops in height (even up to 4 to 4 meters!) And produces spectacular clusters called "umbel" and formed by falling orange flowers that bloom mainly from spring to autumn. It loves hot-humid climates and does not survive low temperatures, so it is well suited for greenhouse cultivation. The ideal soil is very fertile and humid, therefore the soil moisture must be constantly checked.
  • Mutisia decurrens (Climbing Gazania). Coming from South Africa, it was born as a herbaceous, but there is also a climbing variant, long-lived and easy to grow. Known for its red-orange flowers, similar to daisies, it loves dry heat and the sea air. It is therefore ideal for coastal areas and seaside resorts.

  • Senecio confusus. Also called climbing daisy, it is a plant native to Mexico and Central America that resembles the vine. It grows very quickly and can reach up to 5 m. It has orange flowers similar to daisies which, in favorable climatic conditions, also occur in autumn and winter and summer. It is grown well in the mild areas of our country, but it fears the frosts. It prefers humid soils and full sun. In pots it needs abundant watering, while in the ground it can tolerate even short periods of drought well.

  • Tropaeolum speciosum. Also known as tropeolo and cappuccina, it is a climber from the family of Tropaeolaceae, originally from South America. It develops in height from a tuber, but never reaches excessive dimensions (maximum 3 m). It has bright green, smooth and rounded leaves, while in summer it produces small red flowers in the shape of an elongated bell. After flowering, beautiful blue berries also appear. It is advisable to plant it (even in pots) in places with partial shade, cool but with well-drained soils. It does not require special attention and care.

  • Ipomoea. Also known as pomoea quamoclit coccinea, is a splendid specimen of a summer climber with unusual leaves: filiform, very similar to those of ferns, with small scarlet red and very fragrant five-pointed star flowers. Originally from Central America, it prefers hot and humid climates. It should not be exposed to all the sun, but in partial shade areas, preferably in the south. It reaches a considerable size, but takes a long time to grow. Likes fertile, well-drained soils.

  • Lathyrus grandiflours. Originally from southern Europe, it is also called sweet pea and it is a perennial ornamental climber with foliage grouped in small oval minor leaves, which gives flowers in various shades of pink. It prefers sun exposure and well-drained soils. It does not need particular attention except the pruning of the low branches towards the end of October-beginning of November. Much appreciated for its beauty and intense fragrance. It does not require special care and is not afraid of low temperatures (but beware of frosts!). In the hottest periods it requires abundant watering.

  • Wisteria floribunda. Better known as wisteria it is the summer climber par excellence: highly scenographic and very fragrant. Its cluster flowers, white, lilac, purple or blue, are ideal for embellishing pergolas and verandas. The variety floribunda, of Japanese origins, it has a flowering time of up to 40 cm and woody stems that can reach up to 10 m. It is not particularly difficult to cultivate, it adapts to all types of soil. It only needs abundant watering. It is recommended to plant it in the south. It tolerates even harsh winters well.
  • Solanum laxum. Commonly said jasmine at night, is an evergreen ornamental plant of the family of Solanaceae, originally from Central America. It is a climber with a considerable development in height, with oval dark green leaves and small and very fragrant white flowers. The solanumit loves full sun exposure and in areas sheltered from the cold, but also tolerates harsh winters well. It requires abundant irrigation, but care must be taken that water stagnation does not form. In autumn, after the flowering period, it is advisable to prune the longest branches.
  • Hoya australis. Coming from the Pacific islands, it is known aswax flower. In fact, it has large and fleshy flowers, similar to those of succulents, white and very fragrant, they seem to consist of two flowers one inside the other. Easy to cultivate, it should be exposed to the sun (but it also likes shady areas) in areas with a mild climate, where temperatures do not drop below freezing for too long. In spring and summer it should be watered regularly, while the leaves should be sprayed. It does not require pruning and can also be grown in pots.

Perennials for planting around mailboxes

Perennials that are easy to care for make an attractive addition to areas around mailboxes, adding color and visual interest to an otherwise bland landscape feature. Several types of perennials tolerate car exhaust, high temperatures, and the generally harsh growing environment commonly found around mailboxes. Perennials grow year after year with little care once established, and improve curb appeal of your property.


Clematis is a climbing perennial vine that grows well around tall mailboxes. These plants have a vigorous habit and will spread around the base of your mailbox quickly once established. Several species and cultivars are readily available and provide colorful blooms all summer long. While clematis is a hardy flowering vine, it may require occasional watering during the hot summer months. Seasonal pruning may be required to control vine growth and prevent it from overloading your inbox.

Black-Eyed Susans

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is a short-lived perennial that blooms from June to October. Susan Black-eyed is one of the most popular flowers grown in private gardens across the United States, according to Texas A&M University, and is an interesting complement to mailbox gardens. Although individual plants can only live for 2 years, they reproduce prolifically and will quickly establish a dense cluster of flowers around mailboxes.


Phlox is a beautiful flowering ground cover for mailbox gardens. Phlox has a slow growth rate and develops a thick carpet of leaves 6 to 8 inches tall and expands to cover several feet. In spring, Phlox is a beautiful and long-lasting bloom the plant is covered with small 5-petaled flowers that are commonly pink, red, lavender, blue-purple or white, depending on the variety.


Several perennial herbs are well suited for mailbox gardens. Herbs require little attention and create a pleasant aroma around your inbox. Herbs like sage, thyme and oregano are highly drought tolerant, while herbs like mint and lavender have an attractive spring inflorescence. It is simple to grow many types of herbs in a small space and create a different perennial plantation around your mailbox.


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