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creeping phlox

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

I love this ground cover and it blooms here for 6 weeks. But it looks a little patchy this year. Most things I've read said not to fertilize it, but I think it needs something. What do you all think.
This is a picture from last year that is in the photo contest now.

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Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

Another view on the other side of the hill

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Lake Stevens, WA

That is really pretty and so bright. I grew that once and it looked good for a few years then got bare in the middle and moss growing in it. Sorry can't help but love your picture. I pulled mine out but it was only one plant. Hope some one can help.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

yes, I found that it should be fertlized once a year. I will probably use 5-10-10 or else Black Kow and bone meal.

Belleville , IL(Zone 6b)

Are those Monarch butterflies on it? Mine blooms very early spring and then is finished. I don't think the butterflies are around to enjoy it at that time of year.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

No not Monarchs. They are Swallowtail, but I forget which kind. My DH identified them for me.

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

Do you cut it back hard after bloom?
I find that is all I need to do.
I do use leaf mulch in the areas around it.
I find it coming up even through the cracks in the asphalt but I don't have those lovely butterflies attracted to the blooms.
Lovely native ground cover.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

No, we never have. But they're only a few inches tall anyway.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I had carpets of creeping phlox at my old house... think the new gal pulled them all [so sad] they were gorgeous, and mine bloomed twice a year, spring and fall.

Never fertilized and never trimmed either.
the blooms just sort of shrivel and disappear... so no need to.

Woodspirit -- yours are stunning.

I miss them... for some reason, i have not been able to grow them here... they just die.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

If you see them blooming in your area this coming spring, you might want to check with the coopertive extension service to find out what your problem is. It's pretty rainy here so that may have something to do with it.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

FYI the butterfly is the beautiful Tiger Swallowtail.

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Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

ah! Thanks Sheila. I think my husband's family learned all the butterflies in this area when they were kids. But I can't make the different types stick in my mind.
I have a picture somewhere of butterfly weed with lots of one type of butterfly all over it. If I can find it, I'll post it.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Anyone wanting to learn about butterflies needs to hang with us on the BF forum. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/bbb/all/ It has been going on for years, lots of info and great pictures there.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

thanks, will do.

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

I've always read on creeping phlox to "cut it back hard" after the bloom. This has always confused me......does it mean sheer it all the way back to the ground? Or just shave off the top? Leave some foliage? It confuses me. But I want mine to stick around, because I do love it. Here's some of mine (pink), paired with Lithodora 'Grace Ward' (blue) and Aubrieta 'Dr. Mules" (purple). I have not been cutting mine back (because like I said, I don't get how to do it on this ground hugging plant). Also......the same year I bought some creeping phlox in 1 gallon containers and some in little 6 pack plugs. 2 years later now, and the 1 gallon container plants are the same size, possibly smaller, than those that started as the little plugs!!!!! Lesson: don't spend the extra money on the bigger plants. Not worth it. and the plants that were smaller are spreading so much more naturally!

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

by the way, woodspirit, I forgot to say how absolutely mesmerized I am by your photograph. THAT IS GORGEOUS!!!!!

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

What a treat for the eyes Woodsprite

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

I have never cut them back and only gave them some Black Kow and bone meal this past year. I have not been able to grow any white ones though, oddly. Also, not much luck with lithodoro.
I have given away a lot of this and will be able to pot more for a plant sale at the museum this year.
I can't imagine shearing back such a low-growing plant. If mine ever get leggy, then I might trim off the tops.

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

Cutting back hard to me means shearing back about half of the new growth right after bloom has finished.
Cut back as far as you can but leave green leaves. It's kind of like cutting lavender back, you go as low as you can to the point of the first breaking green leaves.
Neither should get too woody.
I do have to say I usually sheer back to the ouch point and there is a few weeks recovery period because you are exposing leaves that aren't used to getting full sun.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

I will look for woody areas this spring after bloom and cut them back. I think I saw a little of that this year.
Since I took the picture, a few years ago, the "thrift" has spread further down the backside of the hill and looks wonderful there too, now.

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Thanks for the advice -- I've always wondered how much to cut back, but have been afraid to -- I'll be sure to do it this year, as it's getting some bare spots -- but I DO love it in the spring -- Dax

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

What a gorgeous photo and glorious gardens, dax! What is the large plant behind the creeping phlox? Wonderful!

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Thanks, pirl - that's a lilac bush -- it's been there forever -- at least 25 years since that's when we moved into the house, and it was already there. Talk about long-lived! I cut it way back 5 years ago, when a friend told me -- new growth on old roots is the best -- Dax

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It is lovely - so nice and full. You did a great job by cutting it back.

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Thanks for tips on the cutting back, semper. Dax---what a wonderful photo. I find myself trying to peek around every corner in your garden. It tells a very nice garden story. Your yard/gardens look immaculate.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

If you have the time to do a thread on your gardens, dax, I'm sure we'd all enjoy it. Winter has arrived here. We need a picker-upper and looking at your gardens would be ideal!

We also love creeping phlox.

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Redding, CA(Zone 8b)

Here are some pictures of creeping phlox.

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Redding, CA(Zone 8b)

With daffodils

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Redding, CA(Zone 8b)

This one is "Blue Emerald"

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Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Oh, just stunning, Bareroots!! Dax

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

WOW that is just lovely

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Thank you, Bareroots! Gorgeous! I think it so interesting how soft creeping phlox looks when it is in bloom---your pics make me want to walk on it barefoot or run my hands through it. But in reality, it is incredibly prickly stuff. Nature is amazing.

New York, NY(Zone 7a)

kosk0025, that bed of pink, purple, and blue polka dots would absolutely thrill most small children I know. Wonderful. I had lithodora once, but my sunny beds are small, overcrowded, and not all that sunny, and larger plants overran them.

Where did you find the Aubrieta 'Dr. Mules Variegated'? I love white/green variegation in part shade, and I use a lot of aubrieta, but I've never seen that before. Is it available in the US?

Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

Bareroots, that is gorgeous! We have always called that flower "Thrift" down here in the Atlanta area. You see it all over the place in the early spring, mostly in rock gardens and on banks.

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

I have a bed that I am going to have to redo this spring. I have been trying to grow plants there that fight for water from the tree. I have a lot of shade plants there but now that 2 of those trees are gone I am afraid that it will get too much sun now.

Here is a pic of the new walkway I did and the bed to the left is the one I redid this fall before one of those trees were gone. Now the one on the right is where I have Astible, bleeding heart. azalea ,small lilies, some hosta , hydrangea, columbine , Rose of Sharon with a clem on it( that will stay). The second photo is before the walkway and in the spring as things are coming alive.

Would phlox work here and what else could I plant? The other side I redid and put in more shrubs than plants.

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Marie---Woodland phlox would look very pretty there. It prefers shade and blooms in the spring. Your yard looks lovely.

dawnsharon---Thanks for the compliment. Kids do love the polka dots, as they are located on the slope that leads to a secret playhouse and a secret gnome garden, and lots of shrubs to hide behind for hide and seek. The Dr. Mules variety came from a local nursery here in Salem. I bought a flat of it, and wish I had bought more. I think I'll add more Aubrieta in March this year. I love that intense purple, and it blooms for at least 6 weeks here. Pic is front yard June 19, 2011.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Picture perfect, kosk. Can't imagine how it could be better.

Decatur, GA(Zone 7b)

ditto that. Wow, kosk, I want to be there.

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

That picture is gorgeous. Post card material.

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Woodsprite, just beautiful. I have about 4 colors of the phlox. My favorite is "Candy Stripe" below.

In the fall I cut my plants down hard. They tend to become woody in the center. I cut back to encourage new growth. Cutting back in the fall prevent loss of blooms. Creeping Phlox tend to send branches that roots as they grow. I use these these points to divide for new plants.

Hi Pirl

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