Garden phlox

juli730June 9, 2014

HI! Last fall I thinned out quite a large patch of garden phlox. They hadn't bloomed for a couple years, so I thought maybe giving them some room would help. Well now I have literally 100'S of volunteers popping up from the roots that were left behind. Does anyone know if these little guys will mature into a blooming plant? Or should I treat them like weeds? Thanks in advance for any answers!

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a2zmom(6a - nj)

I'm sure quite a few of them will become good sized plants given time. The question is, do you want that much phlox? A weed is just a plant growing where you don't want it imo.

Back in 2005 I planted three Robert Poore phlox. In 2010, i dug up two of them, chopped them into pieces and gave away. The third one got moved to an entirely different section of the garden. Every year, I still find new phlox starts which I dig up and give away. I think almost all of them are thriving (Robert Poore is an extremely vigorous cultivar.)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 7:53PM
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I could be wrong but if they're sprouting from the base of the original plant on the same root mass, their genetic make-up would mean they'd perform the same way as the mature plants did. I'm no botanist but logic just dictates roots don't send up anything besides plants they are genetically programmed to do.

My garden phlox plants have grown in size since originally planted but they perform in the same manner/habit year after year.

BTW - my garden phlox plants are crowded in with other perennials. I haven't seen that affect their performance in any way.

Are your phlox planted in full sun? According to my perennial guide 'Perennials for Every Purpose' by Larry Hodgson: "garden phlox does well in sunny sites with good drainage." Is your garden phlox situated where it gets full sun?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 8:03PM
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Thank you both...... The plants are in full sun, shady mornings till about 11. They look healthy as can be, just no blooms. As far as wanting that many phlox, no I don't! But every time I start pulling those little guys out I feel guilty and tell myself that I should be at least trying to save them! Maybe I'll just be selective and try to transplant the bigger one. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 10:43PM
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Campanula UK Z8

um, I propagate phlox from rootcuttings (it avoids passing on eelworm) yes, any bits of root left in the ground will make a full sized plant in a couple of years or so. No sign of blooms till late July on any of mine though so don't fret yet.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 7:56AM
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Connie K

This is encouraging, because I have lost so many garden phlox over the years. Some varieties will perform well for three years, and then not return. That led me to believe that they were fussy plants. Apparently not.

This year I planted 8 new plants, some native, most mildew resistant, and I'm going to baby them. They are planted in full sun where they will have good air circulation. I suspect I lost phlox due to dry summers, so I will keep my eye on them this summer if it gets dry.

I also wonder if I inadvertently pull them in the early spring because I think they are weeks. Again, i'm going to mark their location so I don't do this.

I know that gardening is a process, but here I am 20 years into my hobby, and I'm determined to make more progress than I have the last 20 years.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 10:39AM
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Campanula UK Z8

Ha ha, DtD - making the same resolutions (as I do every year). Phlox though, are, by and large long as the moisture is available. If not, mildew will arrive like a ghostly blight, sure as eggs are.......The main danger comes from eelworms here - you know you have them when the leaves are as thin as a midrib with suspicious crumpling along the tiny bit of residual leafage. Those of us who garden on sand are doomed to head-shaking and hair pulling.....but we must have these late summer stalwarts, hey?
I planted an entire prairie garden on my sand so the whole latter half of summer finds me standing (drooping) in boredom with an unruly garden hose at hand, wondering (for the millionth time) why did I assume prairies were sere, dry and windy - a sort of East Anglia across the pond.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 11:00AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Your root cuttings should be capable of blooming the first year, I often have seedlings come up and bloom the same year so the small plants you have should be a step up from that.
Don't feel guilty about ripping them out though. If they aren't great bloomers in the first place there are plenty of other plants just waiting for you to give them a try!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 9:42AM
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