Phlox, native to North America, are perennials known for their star-shaped flowers and their captivating scent that draws butterflies and bees. Some species provide not just visual delight, but also practical benefits, being edible and utilized as medicinal plants by Native Americans.
How To Cultivate Phlox?
Phlox cultivation is fairly straightforward. It calls for nutrient-rich soil with good drainage. The plants also necessitate regular watering, particularly during dry periods. Pruning, too, plays a vital role as it aids in re-growth and ensures abundant blossoms.
Be aware, though, that these plants are susceptible to leaf mold. Hence, regular monitoring is advised and immediate action is required at the first sign of any symptoms.
To Cut or Not To Cut Faded Phlox Flowers?
There is a debate about whether to remove or leave faded phlox flowers on the plant. This largely depends on your aim.
If the Goal is New Flowers:
The argument for cutting faded flowers is that it prevents the plants from diverting nutrients to them. This helps the plant focus its energy on producing new flowers or resisting diseases. Cutting should always be done with clean, sharp tools and should be made to the nearest side leaf to stimulate new shoots. However, deep cuts should be avoided as they could harm the plant and render it more prone to diseases. Regularly trimming faded flowers throughout the growth season has the potential to yield new blooms.
If the Goal is Seed Formation:
On the contrary, if you wish to encourage seed formation, leaving the faded flowers on the plant is recommended. This stimulates the formation of seeds, which serve as food for birds that remain in the garden during the winter. Hence, it contributes on a larger scale – not only benefiting the plant itself, but also its ecosystem.
Making the Choice
Therefore, the decision boils down to personal preference and the desired outcome – whether you prioritize the beauty and well-being of the plant or its impact on the wider environment. Let the balancing act between creating a butterfly paradise and a winter haven for birds guide your choice.