Using Perennial Phlox

Garden phlox is excellent for areas of the property that border roadsides, or drives. They are also standouts at the back of flower beds of mixed annuals and perennials. Phlox make a nice transition from formal areas of the yard into more natural, wooded areas. Plant them along the sunny edges of woods and meadows. Include them in a planting to attract butterflies along with beebalm, and hollyhocks. In later summer they combine well with Joe-pye weed, asters and goldenrod which also attract scores of butterflies.

In the Garden: Because of the shape of the florets that make up phlox flowers and the rich, bright colors of some of the varieties, garden phlox attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Hummingbirds seek out nectar deep in tubular flowers and also eat any insects, such as gnats, flies and spiders that also seek the sweet nectar and become trapped in the flower. The nectar provides energy and the bugs provide protein. Hummingbirds have excellent memories and are quite territorial, so they will return to visit perennial phlox every year. In addition phlox attract many types of butterflies, notably pipevine swallowtails and tiger swallowtails,

Cutting/Displaying Indoors: Garden phlox make wonderful cut flowers. Be sure to cut stalks where the flowers are newly blooming. Do this in the cool evening, because if they are cut during the day, the flowers will (drop)off. Cut off all foliage that will be below the waterline in the vase. Put them in warm water immediately to hold them until they are transferred to a vase. To prolong their rather brief vase life, add a commercial preservative to the water. A few tablespoons of any citrus flavored (non-diet) carbonated soda can be substituted for the preservative in the water. For more information see the files on Keeping Cut Flowers and Cut Flower Supplies

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