Garden Phlox - what does it look like in the winter/spring?

gamamaJune 28, 2008

I've done a bit of research on the garden phlox "bright eyes" & I'm pretty sure I know where I want to plant it, but can anyone describe what it looks like when it's not flowering? Can I cut it to the ground when it starts to frost? I'm trying to plan out what my garden will look like in the fall/winter/early spring.

Any advice would be appreciated!!


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Garden phlox will die back to the ground in winter and reappear in spring. In my climate, I leave perennial foliage over the winter to hold leaves and snow as extra insulation; but you'll probably cut yours down after the first frosts.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 2:48PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I have bright eyes and it's lovely in flower. Otherwise, dh usually asks "Is that a weed?" At least he knows now to ask.
I always say, "No. There are no weeds in my flower beds".
I don't why he thinks I have patches of weeds!!
The lawn is another matter.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 2:49PM
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If you've ever seen garden phlox before they start to bloom, that's pretty much what they look like after the bloom is finished - especially if you deadhead the spent blooms. A green upright plant in the spring and summer, a brown upright stick in the winter (at least here in colder climates). They can get a little tired looking late in the season. And if it's real hot and muggy, or if planted too close together so the air flow is restricted, or you start getting evening and night time rains, powdery mildew can set in and they'll look dreadful.

At the end of the season they can be cut down to the ground, and I'd recommend removing all the cut foliage and dropped leaves and disposing of them any place except in your compost pile. If powdery mildew exists, it can winter over on fallen debris and splash back up to affect plants the next season.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 3:04PM
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Thanks for the quick responses! I wanted to make sure I could cut them back before the winter because they'll be right in front of our house. I didn't want a stick decorating our front porch all winter. Do I need to wait till all the leaves drop to cut it down?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 4:16PM
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No, the leaves don't normally drop much by themselves. They'll yellow a little and get droopy; and whatever is considered the "end of the season" in GA is when to cut them down. Once established, phlox are tough plants - cutting them down a little early or a little late doesn't seem to phase them, in my experience anyway.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 6:38PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Phlox are not a low maintainence, long blooming, or easy to grow perennial, at least not in the south. I struggled with them for years (Bright Eyes included). Yes, their blooms are beautiful, but they are short lived, and subsequent blooms are nothing to brag about. And, as duluthinbloom said, they look weedy when not blooming. I finally realized it wasn't something I was doing or not doing. They're just not a plant well suited to our area.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 8:13AM
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