PHLOX

The herbaceous phlox are mostly varieties of Phlox paniculata (de-cussata) but there are other types, both annual and perennial, which should be grown more widely by amateurs. A few are described later in this entry. The herbaceous phlox are sound perennials, flowering from July to early September, ranging in height from 1—5 ft. and with an extensive colour range, comprising various shades of pink, crimson, scarlet, purple, mauve. There are also whites and several near-blues. Most varieties are fragrant.

Cultivation. Sun or part shade will grow good plants, but they must have ample moisture in hot summers and for this reason they are never at their best on light land which dries out quickly. The soil should be prepared very thoroughly and plenty of compost, peat, hop manure and similar humus-forming materials worked into the top spit to help conserve moisture. Phlox are largely surface-rooting and on light soils especially a mulch of damp peat, lawn mowings etc., is a great help in dry summers. Where necessary, copious waterings should be given. Unlike some perennials, they will over-winter quite happily on heavy, wet soils provided drainage is sound. (Drought is undoubtedly their greatest enemy.) Staking is usually unnecessary except for the tall varieties when growing in exposed positions.

Vigorous-growing plants invariably produce a number of thin, weedy shoots which should be pulled up as noticed during spring and summer. Slugs often attack the young shoots of phlox as they come through the soil. A metaldehyde preparation will control these pests. Sifted ashes or soot also have some deterrent effect.

Eelworm is another pest of phlox. Injury is denoted by twisted or yellow leaves, also thickened stems which often split. The flowers are small and appear earlier than usual. Infested plants should be burnt and no further phlox grown in the same patch of ground for three years. Do not divide any plants suspected of eelworm but propagate from root cuttings in early autumn. Cut the roots into short lengths of 2 — 3 in., lay the pieces horizontally in boxes of sandy soil in a cold frame and plant out in their permanent quarters the following March.

With phlox which are perfectly healthy, division is practicable in October. Discard the centre pieces in each clump, replanting the outer portions. Cuttings may also be taken from the base of the plants at- the end of March (preferably from flowerlcss shoots).

Recommended Varieties.

Boulevardier: probably the tallest phlox in cultivation, growing to about 5 ft. Excellent for back of a border. Colour rosy-violet with trusses of bloom 1 ft. long and 8—9 in. wide.

Brigadier: vivid orange-red. Not everybody’s colour but one of the best modern varieties. 4 ft.

B. Symons-Jeune: rose pink with carmine eye. The flower trusses are very erect. 3 if2 ft.

Cecil Hanbury: orange-salmon with a carmine eye. Flower trusses suggest a hyacinth truss. Excellent for planting towards the front of a border as it is compact, only growing to 2 1/2ft.

Chintz: best defined as cretonne-white with crimson centre. 3 ft.

Cool of the Evening: slaty lavender-blue. Long stems with large trusses and individual flowers 1 ½ in. – across. 3—3 ½ ft.

Dodo Hanbury Forbes: clear pink. 3 ft.

Elizabeth Campbell: an old variety but still worth growing for the vivid salmon-pink colouring.

Endurance: early flowering. Salmon-orange. 2 ½ ft.

Fairys Petticoat: pale mulberry, distinct and in no way insipid. 3 ft.

Fanal: flame-red of extraordinary brilliance. Some claim that the colour shows up half a mile away! 2 ½ ft.

Gaiety: early. Vivid cherry-red and very free-flowering. 2 ½ ft.

Grey Lady: silvery-blue. 4 ft.

Helen of Troy: salmon-pink with a crimson eye. Resistant to bad weather. 3 ½ ft.

Iceberg: white shaded violet. 3 ft.

Joan: near scarlet with a crimson eye. 2 ft.

Lady Gowrie: rose and salmon. 3 ½ —4 ft.

Leo Schlageter: vivid crimson. 3 ft.

Lilac Time: clear lilac. Stands up well to rain and wind. 3 ½ —4 ft.

Magna Carta: soft pink deepening to carmine. Huge trusses of bloom with individual florets 2 in. across. 3 ½ —4 ft.

Monte Rosa: white with rose centre. Sturdy stems 3 ft. long. Resistant to bad weather. 3>/2 ft.

Olive Symons-Jeune: rose and pale orange. 3 ½ —4 ft.

Olive Wells Durrani: soft salmon with a carmine eye. Huge flower truss 1 ft. X 10 in. and extra large individual florets. 3 ½ —4 ft.

Powder Puff: a delightful soft pink and well named. Ideal for the front of the border as it rarely exceeds 2 ft.

Russian Violet: rich’violet-purple. 2—4 ft.

Sandri?igham: rosy-purple. 3 ½ ft.

Silver Lining: bright rosy-red. 3 ½ —4 ft.

Sir John Falstaff: rosy-salmon. 4—4 ½ ft.

Spdtrot: crimson-scarlet. Late-flowering.

Symphony: the colour of strawberries and cream. 4—4 ½ ft.

Toits de Paris: soft lavender-blue. 2—2 ½ ft.

Vintage Wine: warm claret-red. 3 ft.

White Admiral: white. 3 ½ ft.

Annual Phlox:

These are forms of Phlox Drummondii. The grandiflora forms grow to 1 ft., the nana compacta kinds to about 6 in. The flowers are similar in shape to the herbaceous phlox with much smaller blooms and thinner stems. There is a wide colour range (including yellow, a colour so far absent from the herbaceous phlox). Seed may be bought in mixed colours or as separate named varieties. The ordinary half-hardy annual treatment is advised. Space about 8 in. apart. The Tumbling Stars strain embraces a mixture of many brilliant hues, the individual flowers being shaped somewhat like stars.

Alpine Phlox:

These are among the showiest of all rock garden plants, are evergreen and mostly quite easy to grow, preferring a sunny, well-drained position. The varieties of Phlox subulata described below bloom in May and June and should be cut back after flowering. A top-dressing of fine soil or compost may be worked into and beneath the clumps in autumn. They may also be divided at this time but a better method is to take cuttings about 1 in. long in July and root in a cold frame. Apple Blossom: name describes the colour.

G. F. Wilson: pale mauve.

Oakington Blue Eyes: pale blue.

Phlox adsurgens: a little tricky, but well worth some care. It grows to about 3 in., bearing rich salmon-pink flowers on creeping stems in spring.

It prefers slight shade and rich, peaty soil (no lime). Dislikes cold winds but is perfectly hardy.

Tejniscaming: vivid magenta-red which shows up well at a distance.

Leaves turn dark red in autumn.

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