Dividing Phlox Plants – Learn How To Divide Phlox In The Garden
With long lasting, reblooming flowers in a variety of colors that attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators, garden phlox has long been a favorite garden plant. However, if after a few years your phlox plants fail to bloom as magnificently as they once did, this may be a sign that they need to be divided. Read more to learn how to divide phlox plants.
Dividing Phlox Plants
Perennials, like phlox, need dividing every few years for many reasons – to keep them in control, to rejuvenate them or just to create more plants for other garden spots. So, how do you know when to divide phlox plants? As a general rule, phlox plant division can be done every two to four years in spring or fall.
When phlox plants start producing fewer or no blooms, it may be time to divide them. Likewise, if the foliage becomes sparse, it is probably time for dividing phlox. Another sure sign that perennials need to be divided is when they begin to grow in a donut shape, growing circularly around a dead patch in the middle.
Splitting phlox plants can be done in spring or fall, but should never be done on hot, sunny days. When diving phlox in spring, it should be done just as the new shoots appear. If splitting phlox plants in fall, be sure to do so at least four to six weeks before the first expected frost date for your location and mulch divided plants well before winter sets in.
How to Divide Phlox Plants
A little preparation is required before dividing phlox plants. About 24 hours before phlox plant division, water the plants deeply and thoroughly. You should also prepare the site for the divisions, loosen up the soil and add any required amendments. Phlox plant divisions should be planted immediately, but they can be planted in pots with potting mix temporarily to give to friends and neighbors.
To divide phlox, cut around the root ball with a sharp spade, then gently lift the plant out from the ground. Remove excess dirt from the roots. Separate the roots into sections with three or more shoots and adequate roots with a sharp, clean knife. Plant these new divisions immediately and water them thoroughly. Watering with a rooting fertilizer can help reduce stress for the plants and encourage quick rooting.
The Creeping Phlox that I planted last spring to flow over the old retaining wall, exploded in glorious color this year! In this post I will be Transplanting Creeping Phlox.
What I could see of the color in the grower’s pot was nice, but when it grew and expanded, the results were spectacular!
It looked so pretty that I decided to transplant some further on down the retaining wall.
The best time to transplant is in the early spring or fall. You will want to lift the plant up and find the area where you can dig up some roots. Even though the little shoots look like roots, you have to get part of the root ball in order for it to survive.
Once you have located the root ball area, you will want to start digging deep several inches out so that you do not cut into the roots. Try to keep as much dirt as possible intact. (I was not successful in doing this).
The next step is to dig a nice deep hole and place the root ball inside the hole then cover with dirt.
I also cut the top part of the foliage back. It is more that likely going to turn brown and die off anyway and we want the root not to be too stressed while settling in and growing in their new home. Be sure and keep it watered while it it establishing in it’s new home!
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Until next time, Happy Gardening!
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I’d suggest that you first make sure that the plants are really phlox; these are often confused with an invasive plant called dame’s rocket. Dame’s rocket has 4-petalled flowers and leaves that attach alternately. Phlox flowers have 5 petals and its leaves are opposite. If the plants are dame’s rocket, they have a shallow root system, so you can transplant them any time. If you transplant them while blooming, the flowers will likely die back, but return again next year. Keep an eye on your patch — if you find the plants spreading too much, just pull a few out by the roots. With phlox, as with most perennials, it’s usually best to transplant in the early spring (before its growth takes off ) or in the fall. However, most perennial roots survive transplants quite well. So go ahead and transplant them now, but again, they’ll lose this year’s blooms and likely be somewhat sad and limp after the transplant. Roots are the key to a successful transplant, so when you dig up the plants, include as many intact roots as possible. Ensure, too, that the new “home” is welcoming to the plant – if it’s happily growing where you don’t want it, perhaps it’s because of the type of soil, sun/wind exposure, etc. in that location. For example, woodland phlox species like blue phlox (which might be what you have) prefer moist, rich soil and full- to part sun. Don’t over-water, and don’t fertilize the plants after the transplant, as this stresses them. However, phlox are quite adaptable and may be happy in the new location you select.
Of course, to hedge your bets, you may not want to transplant all the plants at once. Keep a few where they are now (unless you have plans for that site!) so you can transplant again later this season, if need be.