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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Thanks Pirl. Here are 2 more colors. The dark pink is actually a dark red. I dont have them growing together as shown above, which is really nice. But I don't have eough room so have them scattered by color.
Gorgeous, kosk. Those are some fortunate kids! I love aubrieta too, and successfully started them from seed years back to get mixed colors. I think the ones I have now, all "blue" (lavender or that brilliant purple), are from Bluestone and the little Jeepers Creepers groundcover/alpine pots at local nurseries.
Is that Nepeta in bunches all over the slope? I have "Walker's Low" here (Bluestone threepack, years ago). It's such a trouper, but I dislike the way it smells when the leaves or stems are bruised -- which happens all the time here because it needs to be ripped out in swathes every year to keep it from overrunning everything else. Do different varieties of Nepeta smell different (as with Agastache)?
blomma, Candy Stripe is my favorite too. I've tried others, but always found myself wishing they were Candy Stripe instead of white or pink.
Dawnsharon---yes, that is Nepeta on the slope. It intermingles with a lot of groundcover roses through the summer. (roses were barely in bloom in the pic). It is 'Walker's Low' variety also. I put it in, mistakenly thinking it would be "low" and small, which it is not. But I like the effect anyway. I'm not sure if different varieties of Nepeta have different smells or not...It blooms all June/July. Starts to look less colorful at the end of July, so I cut it all the way back and get a second bloom mid-Aug through Sept.
Thanks, kosk. I rooted out as much Nepeta as I could where it was overrunning an azalea, so I expect it'll take a year or two to restore itself -- the Nepeta, not the azalea, which I should probably replace.
I wish I had come over here sooner and found some of these great photos. A lot of people don't know about the wonders of Creeping Phlox. ♥ We had to keep the articles to a certain length otherwise I would have added lots more photos. But one picture is worth a thousand words.
Thanks gals...but..I'm having the darnest time trying to download new photos this last year. Bought new thingy and still haven't figured it out yet, very disappointing, they even sold me a new gadget and that hasn't worked yet too. I'm going to take my laptop back in and have them do it for me, again!!
Not penstemon, I do have several of those too tho. I'll take photos again this spring when things begin blooming, I got all sorts of things out in the feild. Even have Indian Paint brush, mine is orange, (only a few plants, those are truely wild and only grow where they find a symbiotic relationship). Got asters, orange penstemon, yucca, clover, wild roses by the acre, yarrow, mertensia, cacti, and a bunch of ???. Maybe by then I'll have that pix downloading fixed, god I hope. LOL.
pix: mertensia (blue bells) and the above unknown
pix: ratibida columnifer
pix: starting right top: Wild sunflowers that I never planted, daisy, penstemon (Rocky Mountain Blue, which does grow wild, this one I bought tho, lavendula, veronica, malva
Kosk0025..those purple plants are "Walker's Low" nepeta? They are beautiful! I have the pink creeping phlox and emerald blue but my Emerald blue seems to be a lighter blue than those you have..I love yours..never seen any phlox that deep blue. They are beautiful!
Do they produce seeds and if they do, do you gather them and sow them another time of the year? What's Aubrieta?
Oh thanks, Pippi. The blue plants are not creeping phlox. They are Lithodora 'Grace Ward'. They are common around here, but they struggle if you have any consistent temps below 25 degrees. They are the bluest blue of any plant I've ever seen. Aubrieta is my favorite spring bloomer. Brilliant deep purple. Forms mounds up to 18 inches x 18 inches. Also common around here---seen spilling over rock walls, that sort of thing. It blooms for at least 2 months here, and starts blooming earlier than both Lithodora and creeping phlox.
Pic is my slope yesterday. You can see I added more little clumps of aubrieta this year. I couldn't find more of the 'Dr Mules' variety, so this is a different variety. My Lithodora is just starting to bloom, and those mounds will be covered in blue flowers probably next week.
Woodspirit..how much Black Kow and bone meal would you say that you apply to each plant? Do you work it into the soil? When do you apply these things? I don't believe I've seen Black Kow in our area but will look. I need to clean out the cabinets where our gardening products are kept. I know some of them may not be any good now..don't these things have expiration dates on them?
Kosk0025...that Lithodora "Grace Ward" looks like it's much more of a hardier plant than phlox subulata..which is fern like and dainty. Do you find it is a slow grower? Monrovia website I think mentions that. How old would you say some of your "Grace Ward" are? Have you divided any of them yet? Do they produce seeds that you can collect or does it reseed like columbines or larkspurs or other plants?
Is it a plant that is geared for your gardening zone only?
It is always nice to see pictures of other people's flowerbeds, it gives you not only fresh ideas but education from experienced gardeners. I know different areas of the country grow different plants..I've always wanted to try "Walker's Low" nepeta..since I saw it planted by Carolyn Aiken of the blog called Aiken's House and garden..Carolyn has a lot of it in her flower gardens and it is just beautiful. She says when it starts getting shabby, she sheers it back for more blooms later. Carolyn's gardens are breath taking up in Prince Edward Island, Canada.. a town I think I'd love to visit. If you are not familiar with her blog...check it out. You'll be meserized! What a delightful person she is too. She not only is an experienced gardener, but a great photographer and decorator.
The Lithodora has foliage very similar to rosemary---thickish dark green leaves. It is supposed to remain evergreen. If it gets cold enough that you lose the foliage, you will lose the plant. I think the creeping phlox is much hardier. It dies back like a regular perennial. I lost a couple Lithadora a few years ago when we had a week of temps ranging from 15-25 degrees (rare here) and clear skies/no snow. In my experience it grows very fast...3 and 1/2 inch pots = 24x24 inch mounds in 2-3 years. Monrovia is located about 15-20 miles from my house. The nursery industry is huge in Oregon.
I'm a seed saver/lover...I don't think Lithodora is easy to grow from seed...I'll take a look this year to see if it forms seeds. It definitely doesn't self sow.
The lithodora in this pic from last year is now twice this size...in fact, that path area is now covered. (Pic is last year---my snowball viburnum are not yet blooming this year).
Thanks for the tip to look at Carolyn Aiken's blog---sounds great! Going to check it out right now.
I just pulled out my Bluestone perennials Spring 2012 catalog and found the Lithodora "Grace Ward" plants..It would go great in the sunroom flower bed, and that color is fantastic. Thanks for showing us your pictures..Got to have it this year or next..I love all the inspiration we get from seeing other people's photos of their flower beds.