Earlier-Starting Phlox

Earlier-Starting Phlox

New for 2011 from Pacific Plug & Liner (PP&L) are Early Start phlox, a series bred in Holland that’s said to flower four to six weeks earlier than you’d anticipate. There’s buzz around PP&L’s Buddleia Buzz series, as well, with three new colors for ’11.

Phlox Early Start

These are brand new interspecific hybrids bred in Holland and offered as liners from Pacific Plug and Liner. Early Start phlox are most notable for their ability to flower four to six weeks earlier than traditional paniculata-type phlox, and they will bring color to the landscape just at the break of spring.

The series is currently available in three colors: Pink, Light Pink and Velvet and offers a nicely compact plant with flowers that will reach 8 to 12 inches while in the container. The appearance of Early Starts is similar to other paniculata phloxes but with smaller and more abundant blooms. Early Starts are densely branched and will put on an impressive show of color April through July.

Growers should allow 15 weeks for smaller containers, 28 for larger. The preferred growing temperature is 50 to 60°F, with one pinch recommended as new shoots emerge. Scout is recommended to help prevent powdery mildew and pseudomonas.

Early Starts are hardy to USDA Zone 5 and do best in full sun. They will reach a height of 10 inches with a spread of 12 inches in soil with good drainage and regular moisture. Early Starts are nicely fragrant and will be a magnet for butterflies and other wildlife.

Buddleia Buzz

Pacific Plug and Liner also introduces three additional colors in a buddleia that is a result of 10 years of breeding in Europe by Thompson & Morgan. A small rollout in late 2009 brought Violet and Pink Purple to the market, and now growers can look forward to Blue Violet, Ivory and Magenta Purple for 2011.

The Buddleia Buzz series is a group of very compact plants that are ideal for patio containers and smaller gardens. In the garden, Buzz will reach a height of 36 inches yet remain at 24 inches if in a garden container yet offering blooms the size of a much larger plant. Buzz is also drought tolerant once established.

Growers should plan on Buzz liners filling gallon containers in 12 to 15 weeks–this is an ideal choice for fast cropping in the spring. Transplant in February or March for early summer sales, or in September or October for larger containers for the upcoming season. Well-drained soil with moderate to low watering is required. Buddleia Buzz’s habit looks best if grown in high light with cooler temperatures, and can be pinched in the spring for improved shape and to increase the number of blooms on the plant.

Buzz grows quickly in the garden in warm weather and will benefit from pruning and deadheading. Gardeners will be smitten by the number of butterflies and birds that will be drawn to this plant’s incredibly large blooms spring through fall. It is hardy to USDA Zone 5.

Visit PPandL.com for more information.

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