garden phlox/ monarda deadlheading

sammy zone 7 TulsaJuly 3, 2014

I purchased a number of phlox plants and two butterfly bushes this year.

Phlox are finishing their blooming cycle, and I would like to know how to encourage more blooms. Some are on rather large plants, and still blooming. Most that are new have had the single clump of blooms and are finished. Do I just break off the blooms, or do I cut them down an inch or two to try to encourage more growth?

Two monarda. They were a clump in a pot. They finished their bloom, and are sitting there. I took off the blooms, and some of the stems are dying. Also the plant never grew much. I always thought they were supposed to bloom all summer. From this weak description do you have any suggestions? Otherwise I will replace them, and think I did not really purchase a perennial.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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cecily(7 VA)

Hi Sammy, the deer deadhead my phlox and smaller flower clusters appear. Trim down just below the main flower head and you should get more bloom.

Your garden may honestly be too dry for monarda. Here its an absolute weed that spreads by runners and tries to take over by choking out other well behaved plants. I dig out tons of it each spring to keep it in check. It blooms from July to October. But its very shallow rooted and mildews if we go a week without rain.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:21AM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Garden Phlox produces secondary and terciary blooms from the same flower head. I leave mine alone unless it's drying. The drawback is that it sets seeds. You will get seedlings whose blooms for the most part reverse to the species.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 11:47AM
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Re phlox: a bit more.

I certainly garden for garden/summer phlox and maintain a largish number of phlox, in mixed perennial beds in the smallish area of our garden.

I'd say that reducing the size of individual plants (number of stems) and, long-term, dividing while upgrading the soil both become key activities in their maintenance.

I invariably deadhead plants like garden phlox to encourage the plant to put energy into flower production rather than seed production. Our phlox produce so much flower that is not worth bothering about part of a single bloom.

Deadheading and cutting back the plants also increases air flow, the plants sun exposure and water (from watering) reaching the soil surface.

In the interests of phlox and other perennial plant hygiene, our flower beds are cleared to ground level by the end of the growing season.

Image: August 5, last year.
The main garden phlox here are just about to start blooming.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 3:28PM
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Again Sunny...I really love your phlox! Such a beautiful variety.

I deadhead mine for a (small) rebloom.

I have never divided mine...the larger they get the more beautiful they are....

At my old house they grew humongous. Neighbors always complimented them, and I was known as the flower lady (from the phlox alone) lol.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 3:51PM
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Interesting, Lilsprout.

Re division:
The size of the garden aside, I certainly agree with "the larger" ---"the more beautiful", as long as it stays healthy.

It always irritates me that there is no Forum devoted to garden phlox on GW (or any other major North American gardening site, to my knowledge).

After all, phlox have been tauted as the single most prominent garden perennial over first four decades of the 20th century. And they've made a big come-back since the 1980s.

It would be so nice for serious phlox gardeners to be able to compare their experiences within a Phlox Forum.

For instance, re your/my experience with plant division: are the particular cultivars a relevant factor? I've had 'Blue Boy' longer than 'Peppermint Twist'. The latter, in my experience, is far more vigorous than the former. I've never divided my several 'Blue Boy' phlox. One impetus I have in dividing 'Peppermint Twist' (which I love, reversion and all) is the need to get rid of some of it.

This post was edited by SunnyBorders on Thu, Jul 3, 14 at 22:01

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:04PM
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