The flower got its name from the Greek word meaning "flame", because their flowers seem to shine in the sun. Phloxes in the garden in their decorativeness among soil perennials occupy a leading place, second only to peonies. Therefore, planting 1-2 bushes in any flower garden will add grace, fragrance and a variety of colors to it.
In garden culture, bush phlox species are most common, especially paniculate phlox. Bright, juicy color, abundant and long flowering, pleasant aroma, relative resistance to cutting and surprising unpretentiousness in the flower bed made them very popular flowers among gardeners. In addition, phlox is a completely winter-hardy plant, although in some years after a severe winter with little snow, a rather significant number of phlox dies.
The stems of phlox are straight, from 50 to 130 cm in height, by autumn they are mostly semi-lignified, densely leafy, the plants have a powerful root system. Flowers, depending on the variety, are small and large, with incised, star-shaped or oval petals. The flowers are collected in large inflorescences with a diameter of 10 to 30 cm of the most diverse shapes. Coloring of flowers from white to red and purple in a wide variety of shades, monochromatic, with dark or light spots in the center, etc.
For planting phlox, areas are selected that are protected from the prevailing cold winds. In summer, moisture is better preserved here, and in winter a lot of snow accumulates, which protects the flowers from freezing. Phlox tolerate partial shade well. But in open sunny places, they bloom more magnificently (the inflorescences are larger, the colors are juicier), and they get sick less, but the flowering period is slightly reduced, and the varieties with red flowers fade a little. The best landing site is with light shade during the hot afternoon hours.
Phlox belong to unpretentious plants and grow even on very poor soils. But they prefer light loamy soil, moderately fertilized with manure and humus in previous years, with acidity from slightly acidic to neutral.
It makes no sense to cultivate the soil deeply for growing phlox, because the bulk of their roots is in the upper arable layer of soil at a depth of 10-25 cm and within a radius of 30-35 cm. That is why the soil must be carefully prepared before planting phlox. Before the autumn digging of soil for 1 sq. meter, you need to add 2 buckets of rotted compost, 1 glass of ash and 1 tbsp. spoonful of complete mineral fertilizer.
On heavy clay soil, add 1 bucket of coarse river sand, and on sandy soil, add 1 bucket of powdered dry clay to avoid plant death during the intense summer heat.
Soil moisture should also be abundant, especially in May and June, when the foundation for future flowering is laid.
Phlox is the only perennial that tolerates a transplant with a clod of earth, even during flowering. They reproduce very easily by dividing bushes, green cuttings, root suckers, layering and seeds.
Dividing a bush is the easiest and most common way to reproduce them in an amateur garden plot. In addition, phloxes must be transplanted and rejuvenated every 4-5 years anyway, because otherwise the plant will then grow strongly, and the flowering, on the contrary, weakens.
The best time to divide phlox bushes is spring and early autumn, although you can divide even in summer. The bushes are divided so that each separated part of the plant has 2-3 thick stems, cut at a height of 10-12 cm, with several leaves, several growth buds, shoots rudiments and roots, which are shortened to 15 cm.
It is very important to preserve the soil as much as possible on such a plot, wrap the roots in a damp cloth, wrap the green part with a non-woven material, after sprinkling it with water. Before the onset of frost, phloxes should root well.Such "delenki" will bloom well next year.
Reproduction by green cuttings is carried out in June and July with young shoots before they bloom. With the onset of flowering, the shoots quickly lignify and become unsuitable for green cuttings.
To do this, the non-lignified stem is cut into 2-3 parts, leaving 1-2 internodes with 2-3 pairs of leaves. Cuttings are cut with 1-2 internodes and 2-3 pairs of leaves, preventing them from wilting.
Phlox cuttings root well in a bed covered with a temporary film cover along wire arcs. For better rooting, it is better to pour a layer of sand 2-3 cm thick on the surface of the prepared bed. The depth of planting of cuttings is 2-3 cm. Then the cuttings are watered and immediately shaded. After 25-30 days, they take root and are ready to be transplanted to the intended permanent place.
For the propagation of phlox by root cuttings, the largest remnants of roots left after digging up the plants are usually used. They are carefully cut into cuttings 6-7 cm long and planted in a garden bed. From these cuttings, flowering plants grow the very next year.
And when propagating by layering, the stem is pinned to the ground before flowering (like black currants) and spud in the lower part with a mixture of humus and peat. By autumn, an independent plant is formed from this stem. Seedlings are usually placed at a distance of 50-55 cm from each other, deepening the root collar 2-3 cm below the soil level.
Phlox care is very simple. It consists of loosening the soil, combating weeds and annually adding humus under the plants in the spring in the form of a layer of mulch 3-5 cm thick.Very responsive phloxes for liquid top dressing with urea in spring, nitrophosphate - in summer and ash - at the end of flowering. Organic fertilizing can also be done by fermenting cut grass, manure or bird droppings.
In dry weather, phloxes need to be watered, as they cannot tolerate drying out of the soil. At the same time, their lower leaves turn yellow, and the flowers become very shallow. In hot weather, it is better to water them in the evening.
Phloxes are very effective as single-color spots on lawns and lawns. They provide excellent cutting material. It is better to cut phloxes in the morning after evening watering, when most of the flowers open in the inflorescence. They are good in monochromatic bouquets, as well as in combination with other perennial and annual flowers.
And some more good advice. If you want phlox to bloom in large caps, then no more than 6-7 stems should be left on the bush.