Pacific Northwest Gardening forum: Creeping Phlox Troubles...

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(Zone 8b)
Frogs and Toads
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Deery
Nov 24, 2016 4:23 AM CST
Hello, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your Thanksgiving holiday. I wish I could enjoy mine, but I am unfortunately stressing out as I watch my approximately 10 creeping Phlox plants die away right outside my window! What am I doing wrong?

I planted all of my Phlox over the summer. They were initially doing really well, and many still had flowers for months afterwards. But I noticed things taking a turn for the worse when the weather started to go back to our regularly scheduled rain. Now, 95% of all the Phlox I planted look soggy and pale, with what I suspect may be also some sort of insect infestation (I see small white flecks, like tiny salt particles, on some of the plants). Could it be that they were not established well enough before the wet of our winter set in, and the stress is causing them to be subjected to rot and bug infestation..? I thought that planting them in a tiered garden would be better for drainage, but I feel like it doesn't even matter at this point.

Out of everything in my garden that I planted this year, only the Phlox seem to be dying. Does anyone have luck with creeping Phlox? I LOVE the look of them, and I am so heartbroken that they are having such a hard time. I'd be surprised if 20% of them survived Sad Any suggestions on what I can try to do?
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Nov 24, 2016 12:40 PM CST
I have had only so-so luck with creeping phlox here in the Pacific NW. It looks great for a year or so, then just dies out. I've rather given up on it as a perennial for me. Sometimes one needs to roll with their micro-environment I think. Or, you can try different cultivars. I had luck with that with thyme, planted and lost many many varieties until I happened onto red thyme which so far (knock on wood) is thriving for me. Keep experimenting.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
(Zone 8b)
Frogs and Toads
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Deery
Nov 24, 2016 8:11 PM CST
That's so sad to hear. Phlox just looks so pretty. But I guess beggers can't be choosers, some people have difficulty with ice plants and mine seem to be doing great...

Are there any perennials that might do better in our wet Western Washington climate that acts similar to creeping Phlox where it cascades over the walls of rock garden? I've heard some people use Cerastium, but not sure how forgiving they are either.
[Last edited by Deery - Nov 24, 2016 8:12 PM (+)]
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Name: Alice
Camano Island, WA (Zone 8b)
Ali
Nov 27, 2016 10:39 AM CST
I have succeeded with Arabis, Aubrieta, and Ceratium tomentosum in Maple Falls. The soil drained well but we did get 60 inches of rain per year, so maybe the conditions are similar enough that they are worth a try. If the Aubrieta works, that's great, because it stays in bloom a loooong time.
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
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Pistil
Nov 27, 2016 11:26 AM CST
I too cannot get creeping phlox to stay, I have tried several kinds. Not sure why they don't like it in my yard. I garden near Seattle. what kind did you plant? How is your soil-clay or sandy?
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Nov 28, 2016 10:24 AM CST
have had creeping phlox on a steep slope (short, only about 2') above the fall run to my pond. Partially overgrown above with mugho pine. Looks pretty dead in spring then comes back to be a lovely lavender drape down the slope to the water. I have had to cut back the pine as it has gone nuts and has overtaken much of the originally planted phlox. I also have some on the flat in my garden and it does well, as good or better than aubreita, arabis, creeping thyme.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Jan 2, 2017 7:54 PM CST
Another option for a nice cascading plant is helianthemum, which is a mostly evergreen subshrub. Here's one I have in full sun with western exposure. This is 'Ben Nevis' - I've also grown 'Ben Ledi' which is a rosy pink.

Thumb of 2017-01-03/Bonehead/991e1e

I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Alice
Camano Island, WA (Zone 8b)
Ali
Jan 3, 2017 7:51 AM CST
So weird! Helianthemum takes no time at all for me to kill each time I've tried it. Micro-climates and soil differences in action.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Jan 3, 2017 9:12 AM CST
Yes, funny how that goes. I can't grow the pretty blue lithodorum even though someone not 2 miles from me has it all along their rockery.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Jan 3, 2017 10:23 AM CST
I too have tried the lithodorum with so success and I just love the bright vibrant blue color. Will look up heliathemum for zone. Would be nice if I could get it to grow down the rocks by my pond. Thanks
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Jan 3, 2017 10:35 AM CST
I too have tried the lithodorum with so success and I just love the bright vibrant blue color. Will look up heliathemum for zone. Would be nice if I could get it to grow down the rocks by my pond. Thanks

this is a zone 5b. I doubt it will grow here, or rather survive. Drat. I really love the color. I have creeping phlox going down the rock now. Used to have several feet of it but the 'dwarf (NOT) mugho' overtook it. Now only have a few feet horizontally but it is draping nicely down to the falls bed. Need something on the other side which is more horizontal to compete with the weeds that grow in the rock. A total mess every year but I can't get down to the roots nor can I use anything chemical or otherwise to kill it out of fear it will go into the falls and thence into the pond killing my fish.I think I need to move all that rock this summer/spring, clean it out well, then plant something that grows well in rock and try to get it established before the darned weed seeds hit.
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
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Pistil
Jan 3, 2017 1:33 PM CST
Lithodora does fine here, even self sows! The key seems to be it requires a slope or an edge so it never is in puddles even if in clay. It is planted in my neighborhood on steep banks of clay that are never ever watered. I have a nice variety that is sub-shrubby, and climbs up into neighboring shrubs. I can't find my pic of the climbing habit, but here are some photos in the Spring:
Thumb of 2017-01-03/Pistil/98309e


Thumb of 2017-01-03/Pistil/dc68aa

Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Jan 3, 2017 1:42 PM CST
Pretty! I think my problem has been the drainage. I may try again in a totally different spot, it always draws my eye when in bloom.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Jan 3, 2017 4:11 PM CST
I guess I could also try a different place. I am sure I overwatered. Maybe I could put little rain jackets on them to protect them from my over watering habits. Rolling on the floor laughing

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