The Q&A Archives: Newly Planted Moss Phlox Turning Grey And Not Blooming

Question: planted blooming moss phlox and shortly after lost all blooms and started turning grey and getting very prickly. Planted in clay but used top soil and original soil for underneath and around planting hole. I also put mulch around entire bed. can they branch out using mulch? They are in partial shade to sunny conditions. What am I doing wrong? Will they bloom again? Can I save them, or is this just an adjustment for now?

Answer: Creeping moss phlox does well in full sun to partial sun in a location with good soil and good drainage. It blooms in spring, then the flowers fade and the plant sits quietly for the summer. A newly planted plant may turn brown or pale if it is suffering from water stress. Any dead stems should be trimmed away neatly. A new plant should be watered as needed to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy until it becomes established. Overwatering is as much a danger as underwatering, so check the soil with your finger. The goal of watering is to gradually wean it from the watering by watering deeply but at gradually lengthening intervals. Mulch will help the soil stay moister longer and keep down weeds while waiting for the phlox to spread. The branches will spread nicely over the mulch and will root through it in time.

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