How to Cut Back Phlox

Written by marie louise
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Cutting back is a drastic form of pruning plants at certain times of the year. It allows phlox to bloom with new growth and gives it a neater appearance by cutting back all the dead blooms, stems and leaves. Cutting back phlox can control diseases such as powdery mildew, so it doesn't spread to the rest of the phlox plant or other flowers in the garden. Perennial phlox will bloom year after year with proper pruning and care.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Hedge shears
  • Hand shears
  • Pruning scissors

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  1. 1

    Use hedge shears to cut phlox back in the spring. Cut back the phlox plant by 1/2 right after the first blooms appear and fade, leaving 4 stalks of the plant.

  2. 2

    Cut back phlox stems with hedge shears after the first killing frost, or in late fall in warmer areas, to 2 inches above the soil.

  3. 3

    Use hand shears or pruning shears to cut back stems when the phlox blooms fade during the growing season.

Tips and warnings

  • Cutting back allows phlox to keep it's shape, and also promotes dense growth of the plant.
  • Cutting phlox back by 1/2 allows the plant to bloom a second time before fall.

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