How to Protect Dame's Rocket

Overview

Dame's rocket, also known as wild phlox, is a species of flowering plant belonging to the mustard family. It is grown as an ornamental garden plant for its purple and white flowers that appear in the spring and summer. It's low clumping growth habit is ideal for borders, bedding and containers. It is a biennial that is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9 and thrives in a full sun or partial daily shade exposure.

Step 1

Water your dame's rocket deeply in the fall and maintain consistently moist soil through the fall and winter. Supplement rainfall with irrigation as needed to maintain soil moisture. Feed dame's rocket with a water-soluble general-purpose fertilizer over wet soil once a month throughout the year.

Step 2

Prune back faded blooms and dying foliage in the late fall after the first hard frost of the season. Always use secateurs with clean sharp blades to prevent transfer of disease between plants. In climates where dame's rocket foliage does not overwinter, shear off all of the foliage down to the crown of the plant in the late fall or in the spring to make way for new spring growth.

Step 3

Mulch around the base or over the sheared crown of your dame's rocket with either compost, shredded bark, leaf mold or cocoa bean hulls. Create at least a 2-inch-deep layer of mulch from the crown out to at least 3 inches beyond the drip or root line of the plant. Mulching will help to protect the plant roots from cold temperatures as well as hold moisture to the soil and keep weeds at bay.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Secateurs
  • Organic mulch

References

  • USDA Plant Database Profile
  • University of Wisconsin
Keywords: dame's rocket hesperis matronalis, wild phlox, protect overwinter

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.