Cutting back & propagating creeping phlox

tvrolyk(z5 NorthIL)July 2, 2007

I have some patches of creeping phlox that are along a sidewalk and have taken over a good portion of the sidewalk. I would like to cut them back and also propagate some for other areas of the lawn.

I have tried dividing the clumps in the past but I always end up with a bunch of dead looking branches underneath and leading to the green stuff I actually want to move.

So first I was thinking I would trim them back - mostly along the sides and just a tad on the top. The tops look fine they have just spread too far. How aggressive can I get in cutting them back? If need be can they be cut back to the ground (or a couple inches of the ground)?

Then I just read you can propagate by stem cuttings so I was thinking I would take some cutting for some new beds I am building. When is the best time and what is the best technique for this?

Thanks for the help everyone. I read here a lot and only post occasionally but always get great responses!


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tvrolyk(z5 NorthIL)

Correction: I would like to cut them back and also propagate some for other areas of the garden

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 3:07PM
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I've never cut mine back (other than an occasional really, truly dead piece) and I've got a very dense, healthy crop cascading down the sides of the planting areas in the retaining wall built into the slope at the back of my patio. But I do know that a good shearing wouldn't hurt.

The easiest method of propagation is to dig up and replant a chunk - including the twiggy stuff underneath which is attached to the roots. And the best time to do this is in the spring. If you Google transplanting phlox subulata, the first article on plantfacts from Ohio State is a good one.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 7:21PM
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I've done them by stem cuttings and it's not that difficult under the right conditions. I use flats of sharp draining sand. I've never done it in summer, but don't see why you couldn't as long as they are growing actively.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 7:46PM
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I trim mine a lot. The branches seem to have nodes that want to root, so I just cut it off and shove the root-like nubbins into some potting soil, water it, and then forget about it (and water it when I remember them). I've had a lot of success doing this. My problem is that sometimes I forget to transplant them when they have matured (a few months) and loose some roots removing them from the pots (the roots grow out the bottom of the little pots into the ground they were sitting on). I have never tried to uproot or divide these plants - only propagate through cuttings.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 7:16PM
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