Growing Phlox from Seed: A Guide to Beautiful Blooms

With their herbaceous build, cheerful blossoms, and easy-going nature, phlox are dependable and delightful additions to any garden. Blessed with an abundance of aromatic flowers in a variety of colors, they’re sure to brighten up your display. But phlox isn’t just pretty; it’s also low-maintenance and hardy, making it the perfect addition to your gardening repertoire. In this article, we’ll show you how to grow phlox from seed, step by step.

When to Sow

While it is possible to sow phlox seeds directly into the ground, the unpredictable climate in many parts of the UK makes it a risky endeavor. To increase your chances of success, we recommend starting in a greenhouse, conservatory, or other indoor setting to allow the seeds to germinate.

If you choose to start indoors, mid-April is the ideal time to sow the seeds. This gives them plenty of time to develop into sturdy seedlings. However, if you prefer to sow them directly outdoors, it’s crucial to wait until after the last frost has passed. June is generally a safe bet.

1) Sow in Seed Trays Indoors

To get started, prepare a seed tray with good quality compost that allows for excellent drainage. Phlox seeds need to remain moist but not waterlogged to germinate properly. Plant the seeds at a depth of around a third of a centimeter, ensuring they still receive sunlight.

Place the tray in a sunny spot, free from cold drafts, and keep the soil consistently moist for six to eight weeks. During this time, the seeds will sprout and grow into healthy seedlings.

2) Choose an Outdoor Location

Phlox thrives in sunny areas, so choose a spot with full exposure to the sun. While a partially shaded area may work, keep in mind that phlox plants deprived of sunlight may produce less impressive blooms and appear scrawny.

Consider the cultivar you’ve selected, as phlox can grow anywhere from 45cm to well over 1.5m. Based on your chosen variety, find a location that provides enough space for the plants to reach their full potential. The front of a border is often an ideal spot for smaller phlox varieties. Leave about 25cm between each plant for optimal growth.

3) Plant Out Seedlings

Once your seeds have sprouted, and the last frost of the year has passed, it’s time to transplant your phlox seedlings outdoors. Dig a hole using a trowel and work the soil thoroughly with a border fork to ensure good drainage. Add organic matter if necessary for improved soil quality.

Place each phlox seedling in a hole, ensuring that its roots are completely covered, and gently firm the soil around it. Add a layer of organic mulch over the top to help with establishment and water thoroughly.

4) Aftercare

While phlox are resilient plants, newly transplanted seedlings may struggle with drought. To help them thrive, continue to water them during dry and hot weather. However, phlox can also benefit from natural precipitation, so avoid overwatering.

Additionally, give your phlox a weekly feed of general-purpose fertilizer to provide essential nutrients. Regular deadheading throughout the flowering season will also help prolong their blooms, ensuring a vibrant and beautiful display.

Follow these steps, and you’ll have a stunning phlox garden in no time. Enjoy the process, and revel in the beauty of these delightful flowers. Happy gardening!