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Garden Phlox can make a great plant for a flower bed, moist wildflower garden or backyard micro-prairie. The key thing is to plant it where it likes to live – full sun/partial shade and moist/medium, but well drained soil. It is tall, but not huge – which gives it some versatility in where you can plant it. As a rule of thumb, it will stand out better if there are at least 3-5 plants in a cluster, spaced a couple feet apart. Think of how much more dramatic a forest is rather than a single tree.
Phlox foliage with brown spots, each about 1/4 inch in diameter with a white or gray center, indicates leaf spot is a problem. It is caused by a number of fungal pathogens, one of the most common of which is Septoria divaricata. It is rarely a serious concern unless it begins to take over a plant. That situation usually indicates that the plant suffers from poor health due to improper growing conditions. If the weather is particularly warm or dry, you may notice tiny brown spots moving on the underside of phlox leaves. If you also notice thin white webbing between the leaves, then spider mites have taken up residence. Spider mites come in all colors, including brown, black and red. They pierce and suck the life and nutrients from the leaves of garden plants such as phlox, resulting in yellowing, browning and eventually wilting and dropped foliage. Spider mites are rarely a problem in cool, wet weather, and they can be removed easily by spraying the foliage during early morning with insecticidal soap or, for a severe infestation, a miticide formulated for flowering perennials or ornamentals.
Allow 1 to 2 feet of space between each phlox plant. Pruning the stems down to five or six stems per plant increases air circulation throughout each plant, and dividing each plant every two to three years decreases the instance of disease. Phlox's soil should be kept moist but not overly saturated. Supplemental water is required each week less than 1 inch of rain falls. Fertilize your garden phlox in early spring and just before the plant begins to flower; that fertilization schedule provides balanced nutrition. Remove and dispose of wilted and/or diseased foliage and stems.Leaves are thin, 2 to 6 inches long, ½ to 1½ inches wide, narrowly oblong to lance-elliptic, toothless, usually hairless but with minute hairs around the edges, pointed at the tip, narrowed to nearly heart-shaped at the base, short-stalked in the lower plant and mostly stalkless or nearly so in the upper. The conspicuous veins are joined to form a border effect around the edges. Attachment is opposite. The stem is erect, round or obscurely angled, hairless or minutely hairy, and heavily branched in the upper plant. (Source: www.minnesotawildflowers.info)