How to Prune Creeping Phlox


Creeping phlox looks elegant crawling over rocks and tumbling over walls in gardens. With a soft blanket of needle-shaped green and a vibrant show of small pink, white, red, or purple flowers in early spring, creeping phlox makes an easy and strikingly beautiful ground cover that just continues to spread as far as there's dirt to allow it. Sometimes pruning is needed to tame this perennial plant, however.

Step 1

Lift the green layer of your phlox plant. Creeping phlox grows in layers with the newest growth on the top. Underneath you will see that there is a layer of brown, dying old foliage.

Step 2

Trim the brown layer back dramatically with the garden shears or a pair of regular scissors if garden shears are not available. There may be a middle layer, depending on the age of your plants, of older but still green foliage.

Step 3

Feather in the middle layer by trimming it back but not cut as far back as the browned section. As this layer falls into place, it will hide the old, unsightly decayed section.

Step 4

Trim the new growth on top, allowing it to cover the middle section. Carefully cut each flower to shape the plant in a natural versus cutting off in a straight line.

Tips and Warnings

  • Short-cut trimming in just straight lines will show off the brown underside.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shears


  • Pruning Perennials
  • Plant Data: Creeping Phlox

Who Can Help

  • Cut Back Creeping Phlox
Keywords: creeping phlox, pruning creeping phlox, spring clean-up in garden

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University to study education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills reusing, recycling and reinventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.