The awl-shaped phlox got its name because of the shape of the leaves: narrow, hard, pointed, similar to small "shilts". It is also called carpet, creeping, and at home, in North America, it is called a moss clove. Distributed in the United States from the southern part of Lake Ontario to North Carolina, east Tennessee and west to Michigan. In the wild, it often grows on rocky screes and dry sand hills, as well as in the bright shade of shrubs.
The height of the plant is about 15-17 cm. It forms evergreen dense rugs. Lying stems with very short internodes are completely covered with closely sitting small, narrow, sharp and hard leaves up to 2 cm long. The stems end with peduncles bearing one or two flowers each. Flowers with a diameter of about 25 mm, pink, white, purple, lilac color of different tonality, collected 5-7 in small inflorescences, sometimes single. Corolla with spread apart, notched at the edges of the petals. It blooms from mid-May to the end of the first decade of June, a second and less abundantly in August-September.
Winter hardiness of Phlox awl
In culture, it is now very difficult to find this type of phlox. Significantly more common are its garden forms and varieties, of which there are a lot. They are a real decoration of rocky gardens, retaining walls, mixborders and other types of flower decoration of gardens and landscapes.
The awl-shaped phloxes are good in that from early spring until the frosts, their turfs remain emerald green, even retaining their greenery under the snow. And during flowering, in late May and early June, awl-shaped phlox carpets are completely strewn with flowers of various shades (white, blue, pink, red, with bright eyes, strokes or without them). Although the flowers of creeping phloxes are small (with a diameter of not more than 2 cm), their bloom is so plentiful that under a continuous cover of flowers, greenery is completely invisible and it lasts about a month. Under favorable conditions, repeated flowering may occur in September.
In Europe, the first varieties of Phlox awl appeared in England. However, in the beginning, even in the most notable English gardens, species styloid phloxes were grown, which were sent to P. Collins in 1745 by D. Bartram from the eastern part of North America. There is evidence that in 1746, the famous English traveler and plant collector R. Farrer also brought home several copies of moss cloves. He called this event unusually happy for floriculture. These first cultivated awl-shaped phloxes were several varieties with different colors of flowers and different heights.
Gradually, flower growers selected new forms resulting from natural mutations and hybridization. Today, the progenitors of modern awl-shaped phloxes, most likely, no longer exist. In our gardens, garden hybrids bloom that have been created over the centuries. The first references in the literature about awl-shaped phloxes appeared in 1696. In Russia, the first book on phloxes was published in 1948 (M. P. Bedinghaus, “Perennial Phlox”). She became the first work in Russian about perennial phlox, where the author of the book gave descriptions of species phloxes, including the awl-shaped phlox.
Unfortunately, there are no domestic awl-shaped phloxes - apparently, for the reason that this species usually does not form seeds. All we have is foreign varieties and hybrids created in England, Germany, Holland, USA, France, Japan. The authors of these miracles are world-famous breeders Arends, Lahoda, Bootham, Drake, Bloom, Millstream, Haussermann.
Location of the awl phlox
The awl-shaped phlox - a very unpretentious and plastic plant - can put up with the most unfavorable growing conditions. And yet, for it to look spectacular and bloom profusely, it is necessary to create conditions close to natural; stony or sandy dry hills, rocky slopes.
The main requirement when choosing a place for phlox is the abundance of light and sun: these plants are very photophilous. Awl-shaped phlox - plants are drought-resistant and do not tolerate moisture stagnation. Planting them in places with excessive waterlogging is the most common mistake of beginner gardeners: as a result, the plant looks weak, does not give the effect of a “continuous carpet” and finally dies.
The best precursors for phlox are perennial lawn herbs, tagetes, calendula and other plants that the nematode does not like. You can not plant phlox after wild strawberries, as it is a favorite treat of a nematode. Like any evergreen plants, awl-shaped phloxes should be planted in places with sufficient snow cover in winter.
Alox Phlox Soil
These phloxes will feel good on loose, poor, dry soils. Because they are too fertile, they form a lot of greenery, but they bloom little. In the wild, they grow on poor soils, with a pH closer to neutral. It is known that in the Moscow region the soils are acidic. Macroelements are inaccessible to plants in acidic soil, and microelements are inaccessible to alkaline soil; therefore, soil is calcified before planting awl-shaped phloxes.
Depending on the type of soil, the dose of lime may be 200-400 g / m2. For liming, lime or dolomite flour is usually used, and efficiency is achieved only by mixing the flour with the soil. On heavy soils, sand should also be applied before planting.
Phlox awl landing
Since the root system of the ground cover phlox lies shallow (at a depth of 5 to 15 cm), plants can be content with a small layer of earth. When preparing the soil for planting, it is important to carefully select the roots of perennial weeds, since the latter, sprouting through the sod, will spoil the appearance of the plantings, and removing them without damaging the cultivated plant is quite difficult. That is why the main event in the cultivation of awl-shaped phlox is regular and timely weeding.
It is enough to plant young plants at a distance of 25-30 cm from each other, and after 1-2 years, the phloxes form a continuous carpet. To speed up this process, you need to expand and direct the stems in the right direction, and then pin them to the soil or sprinkle with earth. One of the features of the styloid phlox is the rapid growth of its shoots (in 2-3 years they grow to a length of 40 cm) and their rooting at the branching sites.
Alox-like phlox care
Care is reduced to weeding, watering and top dressing: before flowering, during the period of active growth of plants, it is advisable to feed them with nitrogen-potassium fertilizers, and in the middle of summer - make full mineral fertilizer. With a well-chosen landing site, suitable soil and proper care, phlox carpets retain their decorative effect for four to five years or more. Creeping phloxes are considered cold-resistant plants, but in warm, humid winters with a large snow cover, their leaves and stems can vytryvat. Plants lose their decorative effect, but with good care they quickly recover.
The addition of humus will contribute to improved growth and an abundance of flowering. However, it should be remembered that these phloxes can not be overfed like bearded irises, otherwise the plants, as they say, will fry and “go to tops”, the green mass will be powerful and beautiful, but flowering will be weak.
If you still think that the plants need to be fed, or just really want to do this, you can use wood ash. There is only nitrogen in the ash, but there are all macro- and microelements. To prepare the ash solution, 300-350 g of ash should be poured with two liters of water, boiled for no more than 10 minutes, cooled, filtered and diluted in 10 liters of water. Such a solution can also be used as foliar top dressing. The ash solution is also used as a remedy against phlox pests - it has a sterilizing effect, in other words, prevents the multiplication of many types of pests.
In the northern regions, where plants require shelter for the winter, coniferous spruce branches should be used, and better - spruce, it acidifies the soil less. A dry leaf for sheltering awl-shaped phloxes is unsuitable; it is used only for sheltering plants with non-bounding leaves. In early spring, to help phloxes recover quickly, you can water them with a weak humate solution, this accelerates the growth and development of the root system.
Like other phloxes, plants older than five years should be rejuvenated, since older stems are lignified gradually, leaves die on them, bare patches appear on lush hitherto bushes, decorativeness is lost. In addition, old plants are more susceptible to various diseases. Flowers on bushes older than five years, as a rule, grow smaller, flowering is not so plentiful, plants seem weakened, look untidy.
Reproduction of the styloid phlox
Vegetatively and seminal way. The simplest and most common way is dividing the bush. Transplanting and dividing is best done in early spring. The distance between the plants is chosen taking into account the height of the bush and the duration of being in one place, from 35-45 to 50-60 cm.
In industrial conditions, the reproduction of phlox by stem cuttings is very effective. Cuttings are cut before budding. Cuttings must have at least two nodes. When propagated by stem cuttings "with the heel" they are taken in the spring, at the beginning of shoot growth. In the uterine plant, shoots of 4-6 cm long are broken out, separating them directly from the rhizome. These cuttings take root very quickly and by autumn produce normally developed plants.
Cuttings are planted in boxes or on ridges with fertile soil, with a layer of washed river sand, shaded and watered 2-3 times daily with warm water. For propagation of valuable varieties, presented in limited quantities, leafy cuttings are used. Leaves before budding are cut with part of the stem. The lower part of the sheet with the heel is immersed obliquely in the moist sand of the nursery or exploration box, covered with glass and periodically sprayed. Rooted cuttings give small plants that, when spring planted in the ground, give full-fledged plants by autumn.
Low-growing, creeping species are mainly propagated by dividing the bush and stem cuttings.
Seed propagation is practiced little. Seeds are sown in the fall in the open ground or for seedlings in February. In early spring, friendly shoots appear, which with the development of the first or second pair of true leaves dive. It is important to prevent drying of the soil. In the spring of next year, plants are planted in a permanent place.
Diseases and pests of the phlox styloid
The plant is attacked by powdery mildew and caterpillars that damage the stem. The defeat of the caterpillar manifests itself in twisting and brown plaque on the leaves, which can lead to the death of the plant. Affected plants should be removed immediately. In their place you can not plant phlox for several years. The plant gets sick from poor ventilation, lack of water and fertilizer. Therefore, do not plant phloxes too close to each other, between high partners and in front of walls that protect against wind. Get only healthy planting material.
Varieties of Phlox awl
Aurora (‘Aurora‘) - the flower is almost white, has a pale pink tint, looks like white in the flower garden. The shape of the flower is stellate. Diameter 2.4 cm. Forms carpets 12 cm high - real white snowdrifts.
Amazin Grace (‘Amazing grace‘) - a white flower with a bright carmine-purple eye. Diameter 1.8 cm. Forms carpets 12 cm high.
"G. F. Wilson ”(‘G. F. Wilson‘) - a flower of light lavender-blue, star-shaped. It forms carpets up to 20 cm high and is considered one of the strongest growing varieties. Branches profusely, multiplies well. Widespread in green building.
Thumbelina (‘Dujmovotcshka‘) - a flower of saturated cold pink color with a dark carmine eye. Diameter 1.6 cm. Forms carpets 10-15 cm high. The leaf is dark green. It is growing rapidly.
Coral Ai (‘Coral eye‘) - a light pink flower with a carmine eye, star-shaped. Diameter 2.0 cm. Forms carpets 12 cm high. It grows and multiplies well.
Candy Strips (‘Candy stripes‘) - a white flower with a wide pink stripe in the center of the petal in its entire length. Diameter 1.9 cm. Forms carpets 10 cm high. Flowering is plentiful, lush, long. Enjoys special love and popularity in view of the unusual original catchy coloring. It resembles a pan-phlox variety panicled “Mishenka”.
May’s (‘Maischnee‘) - a flower of snow-white, beautiful wheel-shaped. Diameter 1.5 cm. Forms carpets 8-10 cm high. One of the most beautiful and common white varieties. Against the background of bright plants, it truly dazzles with its whiteness.
Nettleton Variegata (‘Netteleto variegata‘) - the flower is pink. Diameter 1.7 cm. Valued as a variegated variety. The leaves are dark green with a whitish pink border; in the sun the border becomes bright pink. It can be used as a decorative leaf plant for decoration of any floral arrangements.
Tellaria (‘Tellaria‘) - lilac flowers with a carmine eye, star-shaped. Diameter 2.3 cm. It has a very long flowering.
Temiskaming (‘Temiscaming‘) - the flower is very bright, dark raspberry purple. It forms carpets 15 cm high. It is distinguished by strong growth, active branching of stems and dense sods. Beautiful dark with red leaves. Well propagated by cuttings. Since 1956, one of the most bought varieties.
Also found on sale:
- ‘Appel Blossom’ - pink flowers;
- ‘Atropurpurea’ - stunted, with dark carmine pink flowers with a dark eye.
- ‘Avalanche’ — white;
- ‘Daisy Hill’ — pink flowers;
- ‘Leuchtstern’ - pinkish-reddish flowers. Pillows are very thick.
- ‘Moerheimii’ - pink flowers with red eyes;
- ‘Ronsdorfer Schone’ - salmon pink flowers;
- ‘Samson’ - flowers are bright pink;
- ‘Thomasini’ - violet-blue flowers;
- ‘Vivid’ - flowers are deep pink, round. Sods are dense, grow well. One of the best varieties.
- ‘White Delight’ - the flowers are white, grow well, one of the best varieties.