The year of the phlox, how to keep them looking nice

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog lots o phloxThis phlox has taken over one of my perennial beds, but I'm not complaining. Photo by Doug Oster

I've been overrun with old fashioned phlox this year. Must be all the rain.

I took most of the phlox out of this bed a few years ago, but it's so resilient, it's come back with a vengeance. Not that I'm complaining.

It's beautiful and for some reason the deer didn't prune it this season. In the past the deer will take about a third of the tops off. This makes the plant start branching and fills it with even more blooms.

I love to sit and watch the butterflies and hummingbird moths dance around the blooms.

It's surprising though with the weather we've had that powdery mildew has not arrived on the plants. I'm growing some newer varieties in another bed which are resistant, but these old fashioned plants are usually covered in the gray mold by now.

There's a great homemade remedy for powdery mildew called the Cornell Mixture. Here's the recipe- In one gallon of water mix one table spoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of horticultural oil (available at any nursery) and a drop of dish soap. If you have a plant which gets powdery mildew or black spot every year, apply the mixture before you see signs of damage. Once the disease starts, it's much harder to control.

Phlox make a beautiful cut flower too, they have a wonderful, gentle fragrance.



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