How, Why and When to Shear Creeping Phlox

creeping phlox phlox subulataCreeping phlox, Phlox subulata, is a stunning low-growing perennial that creates a striking carpet full of 5-petaled blooms in radiant hues of reds, purples, blues, pinks and whites in late April and May. Typically reaching a mere height of 6 inches, but often spreading to 2 feet, it is a great choice for a groundcover. However, this eccentric plant can require some specific pruning.

These perennials should be pruned back some time after they stop blooming, to help maintain the form you prefer, encourage lush growth and also to reduce the chances of pest problems. Here are 3 tips to properly shear your creeping phlox:

•    Time: Generally, this task will be completed from late May (after bloom) to no later than mid-August. You want to make sure there are no buds left to open before you begin this process.
•    Amount: Using garden shears, cut back the plant by a third or half. It’s generally safe to eyeball this amount, but if in doubt you can always measure with a ruler. Make sure to trim the entire plant so that each stem is trimmed back to this level.
•    How often: Make sure to repeat this gardening task annually after each spring blooming season.

With the right amount of water, lots of sun and summer pruning, your creeping phlox will stand out in the garden as an intriguing, beautiful and thriving groundcover.
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