In the spring time one ground cover really stands out due to its prolific flowering. Creeping phlox or Phlox stolonifera really punches out the color for a couple weeks in spring then fades into a nice lush and green carpet of foliage. You can use it on slopes, around mailboxes or as a low growing front border plant. It has many options. As many other ground covers are, this one is easy to propagate. I took a small cutting last summer from a plant at my in-law's house. I popped it in some dirt and kept it watered through the Drought of '07. When fall came and the rains returned I forgot about it. I left it sitting in its little pot in the front garden area. Last week I rediscovered this wayward cutting to find lots of green growth and a good deal of budding. I didn't take a picture of it last year but it was an unbranched cutting that was approximately 3-4 inches long. I don't remember if I used rooting hormone or not, and I don't think it's necessary, but it may speed things up a little.
I'm not sure what the exact variety is, or even if there is one for this particular plant ('Candy Stripe' comes to mind, but I don't have any way to know for sure) other than the botanical name: Phlox stolonifera. The word stolonifera is used in many plant names and indicates that the plant has a rooting stem or stolon. Another example of this would be a Red Twig Dogwood whose botanical name is Cornus stolonifera. Plants like this are prime candidates for propagation since rooting is a natural method of reproduction for them.In the photo above you can see the sprig and its progress. Once I took the phlox out of its pot to transplant it I found that the root system went all the way to the bottom of the pot. In the picture below you can see all its flower buds. Not bad for a little sprig!
I took some pictures of the torrential downpours we had today. I'll have them up sometime this weekend!
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Saturday, April 12, 2008
Dave is the author of Growing The Home Garden and runs a small nursery business growing vegetables and herbs for local customers in Spring Hill, TN. (Blue Shed Gardens or FB page). He has written for gardening publications, Troy-Bilt, and Lowe's and is available for garden consultations. Dave gardens organically, is a Real Estate agent, and when he isn't writing, collecting seeds, or propagating plants he's parenting his 4 children as a stay at home dad.