Phlox – Hardy Phlox, Flame Flower, Moss Pink, Wild Sweet William, Perennials Guide to Planting Flowers

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Phlox – Hardy Phlox, Flame Flower,
Moss Pink, Wild Sweet William

Gardens, both old and new,
cannot be what they are unless Phloxes are present in
all their brilliant colors to enliven the Summer months
just before the Fall flowers come into bloom and after
the Spring flowers have finished. Phloxes are old-fashioned
favorites and each one holds a bit of sentiment within
its delicate fragrance that makes us realize that they
are wonderful. With the new varieties which have been
introduced during the last years, the new effects in
colors, the large size and gorgeousness of bloom, they
have become a class of flowers unsurpassed.

The Hardy Phloxes, which
are the ones most commonly grown in all garden;, are
divided into two groups, those which bloom early and
are known as Phlox suffruticosa, and those which
bloom later, known as P. decussata. It is these
two groups which have been improved so much within the
last dozen years that they have now become invaluable
assets to any garden. The flowers are borne in large
heads or clusters at the tips of long, graceful, leafy
stems which grow from 1 1/2 to 3 feet tall. All of the
flowers are very fragrant and the colors of most of
the named sorts are clear.

VARIETIES. The following
is a partial list of Hardy Phloxes which are well worth
growing:

Elizabeth Campbell. This
is one of the newer and very popular colors. It has
large trusses of brilliant salmon-pink blossoms with
a dark crimson eye. It is a rather low and stocky growing
plant but is a good, continuous bloomer.

Mme. Paul Dulrie. The
color is not so intense. The light salmon gradually
changes to a pink which is more delicate and soft.

Coquelicot. Flowers
are of a most brilliant orange-scarlet with a crimson-red
eye.

Fracz Anton Buchner. These
flowers are very large, some being larger than a silver
dollar. The entire growth is strong and vigorous. The
flowers are of purest white and the trusses are of enormous
size.

Le Mahdi. The color
of this Phlox is a very deep and metallic bluish-violet.
The trusses are large.

Rosenburg. The flowers
are immense in size, of a deep carmine violet color,
with a blood-red eye.

G. A. Strohlein. The
enormous clusters of this plant have brilliant scarlet-orange
flowers with a bright carmine eye. This color does not
fade or bleach out in bright sunlight. Bridesmaid.
This is a tall and stately white flowered Phlox
with a large, crimson eye.

Ryrastrom (Rijnstroom).
This beautiful colored one is a clear pink. The
flowers are also extremely large, some being the size
of a silver dollar.

Miss Lingard. This
is one of the early sorts. The flowers are white with
a dainty lavender eye. It is an indispensable variety.

Dwarf Phlox. Almost
everyone knows the Moss Pink or Creeping Phlox (Phlox
subulata).
It does not look like the usual Phlox
plant at, all because it is dwarf, spreading in nature,
with small, moss-like leaves. As it grows it forms dense
mats, 12 inches or more in diameter, which flower very
freely. The normal color is pink and in April and early
May the clumps are simply covered with myriads of flowers
about an inch in diameter.

Some of the other dwarf varieties
which are good to grow are P. amaena with bright
pink flowers; P. divaricata canadensis, (Wild
Sweet William), with very fragrant lavender flowers
and P. d. Laphami with larger flowers of a more
intense blue-lavender.

UTILIZE. The Moss Pink or
Phlox subulata grows wild and blooms very early
in the Spring. Because of its spreading habit it is
usually found growing on the surfaces of rocks, in fields
or over dry banks. In the rockery it is often planted
in dry corners because it withstands drought so well,
and its dense growth soon makes an admirable ground
covering, especially when hundreds of small clusters
of pink and white flowers come out in the Spring. It
is also used as an edging for borders, in cemeteries,
on terraces, between stepping stones and in a great
many other places.

The Hardy Phloxes are all
fragrant and the flowers are splendid for cutting purposes.
With the new and striking colors, almost any effect
can be carried out in the garden, either by planting
them in solid beds where the colors grade into each
other from dark to light, or in long beds along drives,
woodland walks and paths, or in front of shrubbery;
or combined with other perennials in hardy borders.
By planting carefully, a succession of bloom, lasting
from early April until late in September or October,
can be carried out by just using the different varieties
of Phloxes. The best effects are gained by planting
masses of each color together.

GENERAL.. Phloxes need a
great amount of moisture and should be watered regularly
in dry weather. It is even advised to mulch the plants
during the dry Summer months to conserve what moisture
is present. They should not be planted in the grass
because the grass will get all the moisture. The soil
should be prepared deeply to a depth of about Q feet;
it should be well drained and moderately rich. Since
Phloxes are gross feeders, good, rich soil and plenty
of moisture are absolutely necessary for their growth.

The Dwarf Phlox plants should
be set about 10 inches or 12 inches apart and the taller
Hardy Phloxes about 18 inches apart. Young plants can
be set out any time in the Spring. If the shoots are
pinched back in June or July the plants will become
branched and bushy, and will go on blooming until late
Autumn. It takes from two to three years to obtain good-sized
and well formed plants. They should be divided and transplanted
every three or four years or the blooms will begin to
deteriorate and the soil will become exhausted. If the
first display of flowers is cut back as soon as the
blooms are faded, a second crop of bloom will come on
before Fall. Phloxes will grow either in full sun or
in partial shade. During damp seasons the plants are
sometimes attacked with mildew. As soon as the first
signs of this appear, the plants can be sprayed with
Bordeaux Mixture or if powdered sulphur is dusted on
the leaves in the morning when the dew is on them, it
will soon check the mildew. The latter is sometimes
caused by having the plants too close together so that
good air circulation around the lower stems is prevented.
Red spiders also attack Phlox. This can best be determined
when it is noticed that the lower leaves turn a rusty
brown. A forceful sprinkling with a hose on the under
side of the leaves should be applied. If, however, the
attack is very severe, it is best to cut the stalks
back near the ground and let new growth start. The plants
should be mulched every Winter with well decayed manure.

PROPAGATION. Phloxes are
propagated by division of the clumps, which should be
done every three years, for they tend to weaken in the
center; by seeds, which may give many new and interesting
colors and types, but usually resulting in magentas
and muddy colors; by cuttings made from the stems. Dividing
of the clumps should be done in the Fall or in earliest
Spring before much growth has been made. Commercial
nurseries propagate by root cuttings. The roots are
cut into 2inch pieces early in Spring or Fall and sown
in flats, much as seeds are treated.

 

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