Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My creeping phlox died. What, if anything, can be done?

Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata)

Q. I planted creeping phlox in May. I lost some within the first few weeks. I figured I would loose a couple, however every one of them died. I'm not sure why they died, the flower bed has a sprinkler system and it waters early morning and late evening. I thought phlox was a hearty plant. What, if anything can be done? Thank you!

A. I'm sorry to hear that your creeping phlox didn't survive. You said that they were watered twice per day. I'm sure your phlox drowned.

The soil condition for Phlox subulata should be well-drained to dry. The sun exposure should be "full sun." You didn't say whether they were planted in full sun. Should you think about planting phlox again, make sure they get full sun. You'll also need to reduce the irrigation significantly. Otherwise, I recommend you consider ground covers that will tolerate moist soil and partial shade.

Lysimachia, for example, thrives in full sun to partial shade in USDA climate zones 3 through 10 in moist soil. Because it needs consistent moisture, partial shade is recommended in the hottest climates, though heat itself is not the issue. Recommended soil pH ranges from 5.6 to 7.5.

Acorus gramineus thrives in moist to wet soil in partial shade to full shade.

Carex grows in wet to very moist soils but prefers evenly moist, well drained, loamy, sandy or clay soils. It may tolerate shallow standing water for awhile, but never dry soil. Depending on the species, they like partial to full shade. Some tolerate full sun.

Mazus reptans produces blue or white flowers. It is cold hardy in USDA climate zones 4 to 9, thriving in consistently moist soil in full sun to partial shade. Some protection from the sun is appreciated in very hot climates. Recommended soil pH is 6.1 to 8.5. Plants spread rapidly, rooting as they go. Small, plug-like portions can be dug and re-planted elsewhere.

These are but a few suggestions. I hope this helps.

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1 comment:

Jean Campbell said...

My mother killed more creeping phlox than anybody would think possible. It grew freely over Uncle Carl's grave, covering the entire marble surrounded lot. She'd pull little bits out by the roots and come home to plant them in soil enriched with buckets of 'compost from the barn' and they would turn brown and die, having been taken from a more hospitable environment of packed red clay.