How to Grow Garden Phlox for a Late Summer Bloom

Updated on June 15, 2018
Barbara Kay profile image

I have enjoyed gardening for at least 30 years and enjoy sharing my experience with others. Gardening is my time to meditate and unwind.

Phlox Paniculata or Garden Phlox.
Phlox Paniculata or Garden Phlox. | Source

Phlox have been a favorite flower of many, including myself, for years. The Paniculata phlox, also known as Tall Phlox or Garden Phlox, can be seen growing in the yards of many old, abandoned houses or spread along roadsides.

Paniculata phlox grows tall, sometimes as high as five feet. Other than its growth habit, it is much like the creeping phlox, as the flowers look much the same.

I have five 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

Plox is a perennial that will return year after year. It is available in many pretty colors, including lavender, orange, various shades of purple, pink, red, white, and salmon. You can find phlox that are bi-colored, as well as some 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, since this is a disease that is common to phlox.

Before purchasing your plants, check the tags for hardiness zones. Most phlox are a hardy perennial plant in Zones 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 2–5 feet depending on the variety. Many are fragrant and attract lots of hummingbirds and butterflies.

Garden Phlox.
Garden Phlox.

Planting

The plants will grow in 24" to 36” mounds, so keep this in mind when planting. Strong winds will often blow the plants down and cause some damage. You may want to plant it near a fence or somewhere where it will get some support. Caging them is also a good idea. 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 4–6 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.

Care

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.

Diseases and Pests

The main disease you'll have problems with 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 same problem with your other perennials.

Propagation

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.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

        Barbara Badder 

        14 months ago from USA

        You can cut them down to 5". This would only be to make things look tidier. Phlox are quite tough and aren't even easy to get rid of, so I'd say either way would work.

      • profile image

        So what do I do to them in fall? Should I cut them down low or just let them die off and separate them in the spring? Thanks 

        14 months ago

        So should I cut them short in the fall or wait till doing? Thanks

      • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

        Barbara Badder 

        5 years ago from USA

        Marsha, I think I've seen the ones you are talking about at old homesteads. They are spread across almost the entire yards. My husband doesn't care for their smell. I wish the ones I have would spread a little bit. Thanks for commenting.

      • Marsha Musselman1 profile image

        Marsha Musselman 

        5 years ago from Michigan, USA

        The phlox you have highlighted in your hub are beautiful. I especially like the looks of the variegated one. The flower of that one reminds me of dianthus even though the leaves are obviously different.

        I have a variety of phlox in my flower bed that I would prefer to get rid of as it's very invasive. I have a friend that has the type you have here that grows in contained areas, whereas, the ones I have take over—almost like an invasive ground cover. Mine are white and I've been allergic to them in the past.

        Great, informative article.

      • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

        Barbara Badder 

        5 years ago from USA

        sgbrown, Thanks for reading and yes I'd love it if you shared it on your blog. If your plant was small when you purchased it, you may not want to prune it the first year. Once they get large, they have so many branches that you will want to do it. Thanks for your comments.

      • sgbrown profile image

        Sheila Brown 

        5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

        I planted some purple phlox last year and was very happy with it. I can't wait for it to come back this year. If it comes back well, I will surely buy some more. I appreciate the tips on how to care for phlox and I will definitely try some cuttings from it too. Voted up, useful, interesting,pinning and I would like to share this on my blog, "Sheila's Flower Garden Get A Way" at blogspot, it that is ok with you. Great hub! :)

      • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

        Barbara Badder 

        5 years ago from USA

        pstrabie48, I'm happy I gave you some good memories. Yes, you'll need to plant some and then you can have those good memories every time you see them blooming.

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        5 years ago from sunny Florida

        Barbara Kay

        Thanks for sharing this with us. Phlox bring back a whole rush of memories. My Momma used to have a whole yard full of these when I was growing up. I will just have to get some for my yard now that you have explained the essentials.

        Sending Angels your way :) ps

      • sholland10 profile image

        Susan Holland 

        5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

        My grandmother used to plant phlox. I love them. Thank you for this informational guide to growing phlox! :-)

        Votes and shares!

      • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

        Barbara Badder 

        5 years ago from USA

        faythef, I looked this up for you and it does say that some varieties to have a sticky substance. I guess you will need to find one that doesn't.

      • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

        Barbara Badder 

        5 years ago from USA

        faythef, I've never heard of phlox getting a sticky substance. It sounds like an insect problem. I'd give it a try. Thanks for reading.

      • faythef profile image

        Faythe Payne 

        5 years ago from USA

        I love phlox..I had one huge plant that I took out because it kept getting a sticky residue on it..I had no idea that I could have just cut it back...Maybe I should try again

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)