Phenomenal Garden Phlox
Updated: Jul 27
I'm so excited that it is time for the Garden Phlox to bloom! No cottage garden is complete without these beauties. (Love me a cottage garden, all wild and free!) The huge balls of blooms remind me of the hydrangea, but take up less room to grow. I love to get up close and personal with the Garden Phlox because they are very fragrant too.
Growing Garden Phlox is a joy, but, I must admit, I have had trouble growing these in the past. To help you out, I'll pass along a few tips I have learned along the way...
Garden Phlox are susceptible to powdery mildew. Powdery mildew looks like white patches on the leaves, and over the season, can destroy the plant. Since the spores are carried in by the wind, it is almost impossible to avoid it completely, by don't give up on the Garden Phlox! These are some tip to avoid the affects of the dreaded powdery mildew:
Grow disease resistant varieties. 'Blue Flame', 'Forever Pink', 'Goliath' and 'David' Phlox, are examples of disease resistant varieties that are less likely to be affected by of powdery mildew.
Growing Garden Phlox in an area where there is space and air flow will greatly cut down on the growth of powdery mildew. We live in an area where the west wind blows in off a field, so my phlox can take advantage of the constant air movement.
Growing phlox in the sun, which they prefer, will helps reduce powdery mildew because excess moisture is dried in the sun. When growing Phlox in the southern climates, partial shade may be needed. 6 hours of sun is all the Garden Phlox will need.
Water in the morning and ONLY the ground. Keep water off of the leaves-where the powdery mildew attaches to the leaves.
Prevent powdery mildew before it starts by treating the ground and undersides of the leaves weekly with Powdery Mildew Preventative Spray. This is especially helpful when you know the humidity is ramping up!
Keep your Garden Phlox healthy with even watering and feeding. Healthy plants are less likely to be affected by disease and pests. Yes, this self proclaimed non-waterer will water the phlox once a week (if we don't get at least and inch of rain a week) but... in the morning and NO WATER ON THE LEAVES. 10-10-10 water soluble fertilizer will give the phlox a nice nutritional drink. (Follow directions on the package)
One more garden problem that can affect the Garden Phlox is the spider mite. Sound gross just by the name. These are more mite than spider, but because they form webs, they get called a spider mite. These little boogers are very small and typically you will see the damage before the mite. These can be controlled with Neem Oil (use as directed) or by introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs. I prefer the natural predator method, so I will be ordering some more ladybugs when the weather starts to get cooler. Shipping them now in this 90+ degree heat would not go well!
Please don't let the chance of powdery mildew or spider mites deter you from the beautiful Garden Phlox. I am a pretty hands-off gardener and I have had success with them. Deadheading the spent blooms will encourage weeks of gorgeous blooms and visits from a multitude of hummingbirds and butterflies.