Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) is a delightful perennial that graces our gardens with its colorful and fragrant blooms. What if we told you that you can extend the beauty of these flowers and enjoy them for an even longer period? The secret lies in your trusty pruning shears! In this guide, we’ll reveal the simple trick that allows you to coax a second bloom from your garden phlox and keep those blossoms coming well into late summer and autumn.

Understanding the Second Bloom

Garden phlox has a unique feature known as a “second blooming season.” While the plant primarily initiates this second flowering for seed production, gardeners can take advantage of it to prolong the overall flowering period. So, how can you encourage this encore performance?

Timing is Everything

The key to extending the blooming season of your garden phlox is to prune it back at the right time. Start by regularly cutting off the inflorescences (flower clusters) when they begin to wilt but are not completely withered. Look closely, and you’ll notice that the flower buds from which new blooms will sprout are tucked away in the leaf axils.

When you see the first signs of wilting, muster the courage to snip those fading flowers. This may be bittersweet, but it’s a crucial step. Waiting until all the flowers are completely withered means the plant is channeling its energy into seed formation, leaving less for the second flowering.

Autumn Pruning

After enjoying the second bloom in late summer or early autumn, your phlox will start to show signs of decline. At this point, you can cut back the withered stems, removing them just above soil level. However, consider leaving them in place until spring if possible, as they provide natural winter protection for the plant.

By following these simple pruning guidelines, you can prolong the blooming season of your garden phlox, allowing you to relish its vibrant colors and sweet fragrance well into the cooler months. With just a pair of pruning shears and the right timing, you’ll have your garden bursting with phlox blossoms year after year. Happy gardening!


Extend the blooming season of your garden phlox with a simple pruning technique. Regularly trim wilting inflorescences to encourage a second bloom in late summer or autumn. Remember to cut when the first flowers start to wither to maximize the plant’s energy for the encore performance. In autumn, trim back withered stems just above the soil, or leave them for natural winter protection until spring. Enjoy a longer-lasting sea of garden phlox flowers with these easy steps!