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Phlox planting and growing

Phlox. - Garden phloxes are of two kinds, the annual and perennial. Both are most valuable.

Excepting the petunia, no plant will give the profusion of bloom with as little care as the annual phlox (Phlox Drummondii). For clear and brilliant colors, the many varieties of this are certainly unrivaled. The dwarf kinds are the more desirable for ribbon-beds, as they are not so "leggy." There are whites, pinks, reds, and variegated of the most dazzling brilliancy. The dwarfs grow ten inches high, and bloom continuously. Set them 8 inches apart in good soil. Seed may be sown in the open ground in May, or for early plants, in the hotbed in March. They may be sown close in the fall if sown very late, so that the seeds will not start till spring.

The perennial phlox of the gardens has been developed from the native species, Phlox paniculata and P. maculata. The garden forms are often collectively known under the name of P. decussata. In recent years the perennial phlox has been much improved, and it now constitutes one of the best of all flower-garden subjects. It grows three feet tall, and bears a profusion of fine flowers in heavy trusses in mid-summer to fall. Figs. 246, 248.

Perennial phlox is of easy culture. The important point is that the plants begin to fail of best bloom about the third year, and they are likely to become diseased; and new plantings should be made if the strongest flowers are desired. The plants may be taken up in fall, the roots divided and cleaned of dead and weak parts, and the pieces replanted.

Usually, however, the beginner will secure more satisfaction in purchasing new cutting-grown plants. This phlox propagates readily by seed, and if one does not care to perpetuate the particular variety, he will find much satisfaction in raising seedlings. Some varieties "come true" from seed with fair regularity. Seedlings should bloom the second year.

Fertile garden soil of any kind should raise good perennial phlox. See that the plants do not want for water or plant-food at blooming time. Liquid manure will often help to keep them going. If they are likely to suffer for water when in bloom, wet the ground well every evening.

If the leading shoots are pinched off early in the season, and again in midsummer, the bloom will be later, perhaps in September rather than in July.