How to Grow Phlox Paniculata Flowers or Miss Ellies: Step by Step Guide
The phlox paniculata flower is a type of wallflower that looks gorgeous in any garden. Not only does it look nice, but it also has a lovely fragrance that will delight you anytime it blooms. There are many type of phlox flowers, some of which can be grown as ground covers due to their size, and others, such as phlox paniculata, that are perennials that you can grow in garden borders, beds, and edgings. If you’re interested in the latter option, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve dedicated today’s article to a step by step guide to growing phlox paniculata flowers. Let’s have a look!
How to Grow Phlox Paniculata Step by Step
Step 1: Find Out More About the Plant
While this is not an obligatory step, the best way to make sure you’ve made the right decision for your garden is to do some research on the plant you want to grow. Plus, if you’re someone who’s generally interested in gardening, you’ll find this step particularly appealing. The first thing you should know about the phlox paniculata is the fact that it’s been around for over 100 years. It has slowly but surely become one of the most popular types of flowers among professional gardeners.
This is no surprise if we look at the fact that the phlox paniculata flowers bloom for a long period of time, are resistant to less than desirable weather elements, are easy to take care of and keep healthy, and they never require staking. Plus, there’s also the appeal of the blooms themselves. They’re fragrant, they grow in mid to late summer, and they come in a plethora of colors, from red, to white, lavender, pink, salmon, purple, and so on.
You can grow them almost anywhere you live, since they can adapt to weather conditions quite fast. Moreover, if you take proper care of them, you won’t even have to worry about any diseases or pests affecting them. If this has convinced you that the phlox paniculata (or Miss Ellie) flowers are the right choice for your garden, let’s find out how you can grow them.
Step 2: Find a Location
The right location is very important when it comes to growing any kind of plant. The phlox paniculata makes no exception. As we’ve already mentioned, this type of flower tends to thrive in almost any location. Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do your best to make sure it gets the best conditions possible.
For example, try to find a place that gets plenty of sunlight. Depending on the variety, some flowers can also tolerate partial shade. So make sure you read more about the one you chose before you decide on a place to plant it in. Just remember that flowers that grow in the shade won’t provide you with as many blooms as those grown in full sun. They might also be more susceptible to disease, so always keep an eye on that.
The next thing that should concern you is the level of moisture in the soil. The phlox paniculata flowers prefer well-drained soil, but soil that’s also relatively moist. Still, moisture doesn’t equal waterlogging, so don’t plant these flowers in a place that doesn’t drain water properly. The best way to make sure the soil in your garden is appropriate for planting phlox paniculata flowers is to check it after a heavy rain. If you can see any puddles that have difficulties draining, this might make it harder for you to grow your flowers there.
Step 3: Tend to the Soil
As with any other flower variety that you want to plant in your garden, this one too requires some help in order to get a head start. What this means is that you should do your best to ensure that the soil is full of nutrients and ready to host your plants. The first thing you have to do is till the soil in order to loosen it up. Then, mix the first couple of inches of soil with compost. This will help your flowers grow stronger and healthier. For the best results, we recommend an organic compost.
Step 4: Plant the Phlox Paniculata
The best time to plant this flower variety is in early spring. More precisely, after you notice that all the signs of the last frost have completely disappeared. The process of planting phlox paniculata flowers is not at all difficult. First, you have to dig holes in the soil where you want your plants to grow. The holes should be between 6 and 24 inches apart. This will give your future flowers plenty of room to develop without running into each other.
When it comes to the holes’ width, remember that it should be twice the width of the flowers’ root balls. After you’ve carefully set the small flowers in their respective holes, making sure that their roots are not damaged in any way, all there’s left for you to do is cover the rest of the hole with soil and pat it until it’s firmly set. Of course, you should also remember to water the plants as a final step.
Phlox Paniculata Care
Step 5: Water the Plants
When it comes to watering, the phlox paniculata flowers are not extremely high-maintenance, but still require some attention. For instance, you have to provide them with constant water, especially in the growing season, when they’re developing blooms. The flowers will suffer if you allow the soil to get too dry. An extra tip would be to avoid watering the plants from the top. Simply pour the water at the bottom instead. The reason why you should do this is because if their leaves get wet, you might notice mildew or mold forming on top of them.
Step 6: Fertilize the Plants
The fact that you’ve provided the soil with nutrients before planting the phlox paniculata flowers doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t fertilize the plants once they’re in the ground as well. What we recommend you to do is purchase a 10-10-10 fertilizer. This contains 10 percent potash, 10 percent nitrogen, and 10 percent phosphate. Use this type of fertilizer once after you’ve just planted the flowers, and then again when you notice them blooming. Compost is another thing you shouldn’t forget about. Each spring, add some of it around your plants to promote growth.
Step 7: Mulch Around the Plants
At the beginning of each summer, you should provide the area around your plants with some mulch. If you want to know the best time to do this, try to notice when the days start to get hotter. The reason why this is the best option is because the main purpose of mulching is to keep the soil cool and moist and stop weeds from growing around your plants.
Step 8: Prune the Plants
In terms of pruning, you should cut off almost all of the stems, leaving only around 5 of them on the actual plant. This ensures that the remaining stems will get more air faster. That will increase their capacity to bloom and prevent any diseases that might appear in time. Make sure to also pinch off the tips of the stems that you’ve preserved. This will prevent them from growing too fast and provide them with more time to fill out properly.
Step 9: Deadhead the Plants
Deadheading is a step that you shouldn’t forget about, since this promotes the growth of a new series of blooms. When the first flowers start to fade, remove them entirely to make room for new growths.
Step 10: Divide the Plants
Finally, the last step in today’s guide to growing phlox paniculata flowers is to divide the plants in order to propagate them and prevent them from crowding each other. This is not a step that you have to do often, but only once every 3 to 5 years. The best way to do it is to dig out the plants. Then, cut off small portions of the edges of the plant clusters that you notice have buds and growths. In case the inner edges are woody, eliminate that part completely. We advise you to plant the original flowers in the holes where they used to grow. For the other pieces you’ve cut off, you’ll have to create new holes.
Summing Everything Up
The phlox paniculata flowers are great options for anyone interested in decorating their garden with some gorgeous and multicolored wallflowers that smell amazing and are relatively easy to take care of. Which, who wouldn’t actually want something like that? That sounds like heaven on earth as far as plant care is concerned! So if you’re looking for some beautiful perennials that will enchant you with their blooms for a long period of time, we advise you to plant some phlox paniculata flowers in your garden. As we hope we managed to prove in today’s guide, you don’t have to worry too much about maintenance and pests, as long as you provide your plants with the minimum amount of care any plant requires. You’ll have beautiful, flourishing plants in no time!