How to propagate phlox?

Propagating a Garden Phlox

Propagating a garden phlox from cuttings or division is a fairly simple process which can be executed by beginner gardeners. This article identifies and describes the steps one must take to successfully propagate a garden phlox.

Wait for the Prime Time

As spring arrives after the last frost of winter you will notice that your garden phlox has begun to send out shoots of new growth. When the shoots of new growth exceed the length of an inch you may prepare to take cuttings.

If you wish to propagate your garden phlox through division you must divide the plant in early spring or late fall for best results. To divide the plant, use a gardening tool to separate the mother plant into several smaller and independent plants.

Take Cuttings and Begin the Rooting Process

Take several tender tip cuttings from the garden phlox using a sterile razor or sharp pair of sterile scissors. Each cutting should be between 2 and 4 inches; the cuttings must be immediately placed into water immediately after cutting.

Once all the cuttings have been acquired, dip the cut end in rooting hormone and individually plant each cutting in a separate pot.

Treat the cuttings with care; keep the roots moist, provide sunlight and protect the plant from cold. Within a couple of weeks the cutting should root.

Taking Creeping Phlox Cuttings: How To Grow Creeping Phlox From Cuttings

Creeping phlox isn’t much to write home about until it blooms. That is when the plant really shines. These spring bloomers come in pink, white, lavender and even red. It has a ground hugging habit and stems become woody as this perennial ages. Propagation of this plant is through division, stem cuttings or rooted stems. Creeping phlox cuttings root after a few months, readily providing new plants almost effortlessly. Timing is everything when taking creeping phlox cuttings. Learn how to take cuttings from creeping phlox and when to do it for maximum success.

When to Take Cuttings from Creeping Phlox

If you are a lover of this plant, it’s easy to propagate creeping phlox from cuttings. This is a nearly foolproof way to make more plants and add different colors to your collection for free. Creeping phlox sends out runners, rooting stems that are also a quick way to propagate the plant.

Creeping phlox cuttings should be taken in either summer or fall, but seem to root

best if planted in autumn. Some gardeners swear by taking them early in the season when they are actively growing, but the plants persist well into the cold season and rooted nodes will still sufficiently establish by the time full winter arrives.

Cuttings of creeping phlox may be rooted stems which will more quickly establish or terminal end cuttings. The latter will need more time to send out roots but will do so provided they are cut near a growth node.

How to Grow Creeping Phlox from Cuttings

Either remove a 6-inch section of a rooted stem or take the same amount from a lateral shoot near the tip. Make your cut ½ inch (1.27 cm.) below a leaf. Use sharp, clean cutting tools to prevent disease from spreading and injury to the plant.

Each cutting must have at least one leaf and be free of flowers. Cuttings of creeping phlox do not require a pre-treatment of rooting hormone before planting, but it may speed up the process. If you choose to do so, dip the cut end into the hormone and shake the excess off. You are now ready to plant.

In order to successfully propagate creeping phlox from cuttings, you need to observe the appropriate planting and care instructions. Choose a fast draining growing medium such as a combination of peat, coarse sand and perlite.

Pull the leaves off the bottom 1/3 of the cutting. Plant the cut end 4 inches (10 cm.) into the soil after you treat with the hormone, if you wish. Keep the planting medium moderately moist and place the container in bright but indirect light.

You may also choose to place a plastic bag over the container to conserve moisture. Remove it once a day to prevent fungal build up in soil. In 4 to 6 weeks, the plant should be rooted and ready for transplant.

Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) is also known as moss pink and moss phlox. The stiff, narrow leaves are an inch long and 1/16 inch wide. These green leaves blend into the grass when the phlox is not in bloom. In late winter and spring, the 6-inch tall plants produce flowers in red, lavender, pink and white shades. This flat, spreading plant is used as ground cover, in rock and wall gardens and as a cascading container plant. Creeping phlox is propagated through stem cuttings taken in the summer or fall.

Difficulty: Moderate


Things You’ll Need:

  • Plant pot
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Spray bottle
  • Creeping phlox parent plant
  • Sharp knife
  • Small container
  • Rooting hormone
  • Sticks
  • Clear plastic wrap
  1. Wash a plant pot that is at least 3 inches deep in soapy water. Rinse the container in a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water. This eliminates hidden pests and plant disease.

  2. Mix together equal parts peat moss and sand. This creates a sterile rooting medium that drains quickly, provides air circulation to the developing roots and holds moisture. Fill the plant pot with the mixture and spray it with water until it is thoroughly wet.

  3. Check the creeping phlox parent plant for plant diseases and any other damage. Use a plant that is healthy. Cut a 3- to 5-inch long piece of stem with a sharp knife in the early morning while the stems are full of water pressure. Take the stem cutting from the end of a branch consisting of this season’s growth. Do not cut a branch with flower buds.

  4. Remove the lower half of leaves to create a bare stem. Dip the cut end in a small container with rooting hormone in it. Tap the excess rooting hormone off the cutting. Insert the cutting into the plant pot. Space other cuttings so their leaves do not touch. Spray the cutting container with water.

  5. Slide four to six sticks into the soil near the edge of the plant pot. Drape clear plastic wrap over the top of the sticks so the plastic does not touch the cuttings. This creates a greenhouse effect and increases humidity around the cuttings. Place in indirect light, spray the cuttings daily and remove the plastic when the cuttings put on new growth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Transplant the creeping phlox to an area of full sunlight once it starts to grow vigorously. Water the new plants if the soil starts to dry out.

  • Choose your growing area carefully when planting creeping phlox. This is an aggressive, spreading plant that will happily take over the area and smother other nearby plants.

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