24 February 2010

Phlox--a classic Atlanta garden flower plant

Pholx subulata - Creeping or Moss Phlox.
Pholx subulata - Creeping or Moss Phlox.
(c) Jerzy Opiola - License Creative Common Share Alike 3.0

Have you ever seen those billows of cascading pink and pale purple flowers spilling over walls? These things go in cycles, and there was a time that phlox was ubiquitous in the Atlanta gardens. In older landscapes it can be seen flowing over stacked stone retaining walls in pillows of soft pink. Phlox is a fairly easy to grow flower, available in perennial cultivars (e.g., garden phlox, and creeping phlox), and annual varieties.

A number of phlox varieties are originally native to the Southern and Appalachian Regions of the United States, making it a nice choice for gardeners interested in native plants, or encouraging a native feel to their gardens.

These make nice cut flowers, are good choices for balconies, patio railings, behind retaining walls, and in window boxes. Typically seen in pink or pale purple, they are also available in reds, white, and yellow.

Establishment. Indoors - You can begin growing indoors from seed six to eight weeks before the last frost. In Atlanta that would be planting from beginning in the middle of February, to the first week in March. You can then transplant to the outdoor garden after the middle of April.

Outdoors - Locate your phlox in full sun. Transplant seedlings you started indoors, or plant outdoors from seed. Sow seeds in your prepared garden soil beginning in the middle of March.

Maintenance. Dead head faded flowers. Fertilize once with 10-10-10 fertilizer. Maintain a good layer of mulch. And keep watered, to maintain soil moisture, but be careful not to oversaturate soil (well drained soils)

A few varieties:

Creeping phlox -- Phlox stolonifera
Garden Phlox -- Phlox paniculata 'Peacock Neon Rose'
Moss Phlox -- Phlox subulata 'Drummond's Pink'
Garden Phlox -- Phlox paniculata 'Peacock White'

Abdurrahim is the lead designer at metro Atlanta based, Proudland Landscape, LLC.
You can contact him with question via email at
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