A summer’s treat
Its sweet scent makes Phlox a real treat. And its radiant colours do the rest: from the purest white to a wide range of pinks and purples. Phloxes went a bit out of fashion for a while, but these stunning summer flowers are once again being widely cultivated in countries like The Netherlands, Israel and Kenya.
‘We produce Phloxes on a seasonal basis’, says Phlox grower Jeroen Hogenboom. He took over the business from his parents, but his father still visits the nurseries every day. Cultivation takes place in the greenhouse as well as outdoors. ‘We’re not busy with supply in winter’, says Jeroen. ‘That’s when we’re involved with breeding activities and propagating plants from cuttings.’
Our operations move outdoors again in early spring. ‘In July and August – our busiest months – we’re out at the crack of dawn picking flowers in the field’, says Jeroen. ‘Sometimes we do this in raincoats because the crop is wet with dew or rain, but I still associate summer with working out in the field in a T-shirt.
Lots of sunshine
Israel is another country where you can see fields of Phlox in all kinds of colours. ‘The climate there is perfect for producing Phlox’, says Yair Peleg. He’s been growing Phlox at his nursery in central Israel for thirty years. ‘The winters here are fairly mild, and the sun shines most days’, says his son Chen, a member of the second generation within this family business. ‘Our favourite Phlox is the deep purple variety ‘Van Gogh. This variety has an intense colour, sturdy stems and beautiful deep green leaves. It just looks good!’
A way with Phlox
Phlox is the most important product at the Peleg’s family nursery, but it is also joined by other summer flowers such as Chamaelaucium (Waxflower). When asked if Phlox is difficult to produce, Chen says: ‘We’re good to our Phloxes, and they’re good to us. With my father’s thirty years of experience, we know how to deal with these plants. We simply have a way with Phloxes.’
Phloxes look wonderful in a bouquet of wildflowers, ss if you’ve just picked them. Once in the vase, the flower buds continue to open. Sometimes, they lose a floret or two, but this only enhances the look of a wildflower bouquet. Combine Phloxes with other cheerful wildflowers such as Campanula and Lavatera. Instant summer in a vase!
The usual care tips apply to Phlox: trim a piece off the stem, remove the lowest leaves, and place the flowers in fresh water with cut flower food.