Creeping Phlox Planting Instructions: Tips For Growing Creeping Phlox

Creeping Phlox Planting Instructions: Tips For Growing Creeping Phlox

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) produces a colorful spring carpet of soft pastel hues. Little expert knowledge is needed on how to plant and care for creeping phlox.

Growing creeping phlox over a rockery or in tough soil conditions provides a nearly carefree ground cover or cascading plant. Consider growing it in between pavers, in a planter or just as a part of a bright spring bed as well.

About Creeping Phlox

A perennial nature and semi-evergreen habit are important facts about creeping phlox. These plants have needle-like foliage with small starry, five-pointed flowers in red, lavender, pink, white or bluish-purple. Creeping phlox blooms in spring and produces long, spreading stems, which become woody with age.

These thicker growths cease to produce flowers over time and may be cut out of the plant to encourage the newer, softer stems that do bloom. In addition, the plant has a moderate growth rate and can get 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) high with a 2 foot (.6 m.) spread.

Creeping Phlox Planting Instructions

Learning how to plant and care for creeping phlox is quite simple. The plant has an easy going nature and thrives in a variety of conditions. Almost any soil is suitable for growing creeping phlox as long as it is in full sun to partial shade. For best results, however, plant it in a sunny location where soils are moist but well drained.

Dig in some organic soil amendments to enrich the soil and water the plant until it is established.

Plant creeping phlox at soil level and avoid burying the stem in the earth. Follow these easy creeping phlox planting instructions for years of early spring color.

Care of Creeping Phlox

Little special care or maintenance is necessary when growing creeping phlox. The plant benefits from an early spring application of fertilizer to encourage new growth and flowering.

Even established plants should have supplemental watering in hot summer periods and plants along rockeries may show signs of scorching due to the hot surroundings.

The stems can be cut back after flowering to promote a second bloom. Care of creeping phlox may also include cutting the plant back in late winter to allow for rejuvenation and to produce young, more compact stems.

Watching for mites and other pests and dealing with these infestations as soon as they are spotted using an organic insecticidal soap is also important for the plant’s care.

Creeping Phlox Propagation

The plant can also be divided to provide more growing creeping phlox plants. Simply dig the plant up, preserving the root ball. Cut through the center of the plant and through the roots with a sharp soil knife or even a spade. Replant one-half of the phlox in the original hole and plant the other anywhere you want more of the colorful ground cover. The process can be done every few years to create healthier plants.

You can also take stem cuttings for rooting in summer or fall. Dip these in a plant hormone and plant in a soil-less medium to take root.

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Phlox subulata

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Phlox, Creeping Plant Features

Creeping phlox is an attractive, easy-to-grow North American-native groundcover that is completely covered in fragrant flowers when it blooms in the early spring. The flowers of creeping phlox appear in candy-colored shades of pink, purple, blue, and white. Creeping phlox, occasionally called moss phlox, grows about 8 inches tall and creates a delightful carpet of color that's perfect for the front of the border, slopes, or rock gardens. And when the plant is not in bloom, creeping phlox still looks good, sporting bright green, needle-like foliage that adds texture to your garden. Hardy from zones 3-9.

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Phlox, Creeping Growing Instructions

Creeping phlox grows best in full sun or part shade (though you'll get more flowers in the sun) and moist, well-drained soil. Once established, creeping phlox holds up well to drought and needs little care. Creeping phlox will sulk if planted in wet soil. To insure success, plant creeping phlox on a slight slope to facilitate drainage.

Creeping phlox is not intended for human or animal consumption.


Outside: Part sun
Outside: Sun



Special Features

Attracts butterflies
Deer/rabbit resistant

Complement your Phlox, Creeping with these varieties:

Varieties: Our Favorites

Angelina phlox is long-flowering hybrid that shows off clusters of lavender-pink flowers for weeks in spring and early summer. It grows 8 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Angelina is a fun upgrade from older creeping phlox varieties. Zones 6-9

Part of the new generation of phlox, this hybrid has big pink flowers all spring on a mounding plant to 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Zones 6-9

Candystripe Creeping Phlox

Phlox subulata 'Candystripe'

Brighten slopes, rock gardens, and border edges with the ‘Candy Stripe’ creeping phlox. Growing just 6 inches tall, this quick-growing spreader forms a dense mat of white flowers etched with broad pink stripes.

Phlox subulata 'Crimson Beauty'

Bursting into bloom in the early spring, ‘Crimson Beauty’ creeping phlox forms a carpet of beautiful crimson flowers. Like other creeping phlox, ‘Crimson Beauty’ grows 6 inches tall and makes an excellent ground cover in sunny locations.

Drummond's Pink Creeping Phlox

Phlox subulata 'Drummond's Pink'

The dark, evergreen foliage of ‘Drummond’s Pink’ creeping phlox provides a stark contrast to the plant’s bright pink flowers. It grows 4 to 6 inches tall and is a great companion to spring-flowering bulbs.

Emerald Blue Creeping Phlox

Phlox subulata 'Emerald Blue'

Looking for an easy-care, colorful groundcover? Try ‘Emerald Blue’ creeping phlox: This fast-growing variety develops masses of deep blue blooms in the early spring. And, when not in bloom, the needle-like evergreen foliage provides a textural accent. It grows 6 inches tall.

Fort Hill Creeping Phlox

Enjoy a carpet of spectacular, pinkish-rose flowers every spring with ‘Fort Hill’ creeping phlox. This vigorous performer grows 6 inches tall and will quickly scramble over bare spots in garden.

Jagger Creeping Phlox

Part of the new generation of creeping phlox, Jagger starts blooming in spring and continues through the summer. It has rich purple flowers and a compact, mounding shape to 12 inches tall and wide. Zones 6-10

Purple Beauty Creeping Phlox

Phlox subulata 'Purple Beauty'

The lightly fragrant, deep purple flowers of ‘Purple Beauty’ creeping phlox make this hardy ground cover a top pick for sunny borders. ‘Purple Beauty’ grows 4 to 6 inches tall.

Red Wing Creeping Phlox

Edge a bed or walkway with ‘Red Wing’ creeping phlox where you can enjoy its crimson flowers with darker centers at close range. The plants grow 6 inches tall but will slowly spread 3 feet wide.

Ronsdorfer Beauty Creeping Phlox

Phlox subulata 'Ronsdorfer Beauty'

Grow a welcome mat of bloom with ‘Ronsdorfer Beauty’ creeping phlox. In spring, this compact plant is smothered in bright pink flowers with a red eye. The bright green needle-like leaves add interest and color when the plant is not in bloom.

Chinese evergreen is a can't-go-wrong houseplant. It grows practically everywhere, from low to bright light and doesn't mind if you forget to water from time to time.

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Creeping Phlox Features: An Overview

  • Creeping phlox is a common sight in rock gardens. But this flower can add a lot of color to your landscape regardless of the location. This plant goes incredibly well with tulips and carnations because they tower over it. Additionally, it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, so your yard will be bustling with life in spring.
  • The flowers can be red, white, blue, pink, purple, or lavender. They have a simple shape, pleasant fragrance, and grow super close to each other. Creeping phlox blooms for three to four weeks, usually starting in the middle of spring.
  • When mature, creeping phlox is between 4 and 6 inches tall, depending on the specie. It can spread for 24 inches, creating a full ground cover of bright and vivid flowers.
  • This plant is native to eastern and central North America, but it can be successfully grown in any climate, as long as the weather is not too extreme. Add a bit of fertilizer, make sure that the ground is slightly acidic, and creeping phlox will thrive in no time.
  • Some gardening enthusiasts do prune their creeping phlox to give it a neater shape, but it is not necessary. You can let this flower grow naturally, and it will still look breathtakingly good. On the other hand, pruning can make the leaves grow denser. If you decide to prune your creeping phlox, do so in summer, after blooming.
  • Creeping phlox is generally more prone to diseases than pests. However, extreme weather conditions such as hot and dry climate can lead to an infestation of spider mites. Humid weather can attract foliar nematodes. If you notice any color changes on the leaves of your creeping phlox, act fast and remove the diseased foliage.

Phlox Plant makes a great flowering display and is a Hardy and Versatile Plant



Phlox is a hardy and versatile plant that can grow in numerous soil conditions. It will bloom during the spring and summer months of the year, and the flowers will be a spectacular shade of blue that may almost seem purple in different lights. This plant can help to bring butterflies, birds, and hummingbirds to the garden area with its bright coloration and fresh scent. This plant can even grow over rocks and other items in the landscape.

Phlox Plants doesn't Require a Great Deal of Attention and is Good For New Gardeners

This plant does not require a great deal of attention and is a straightforward growing variety. It is ideally right for those that are new to gardening as it requires little to no knowledge of plant care or maintenance. It is also a plant which means it will come back year after year in the garden and takes away the hassle of replanting each season.

Phlox works well as a ground cover and will brighten up an entire area in no time at all. Give this perennial a try in the garden and see how it can transform with its color, shape, and texture. Long a staple of many spectacular flower gardens, the lovely Creeping Phlox plant attracts interest because of its delightful blooms and compelling fragrance. Today, botanists have identified over 60 different species of annual and perennial North American Phlox within the Polemoniaceae family. In addition to many domestically cultivated varieties, some of these plants grow in the wild.
Creeping Phlox typically produces clusters of blossoms with five oval-shaped petals. The colors range from white or blue, to vivid pinks, reds, and purples. This plant will attract butterflies to a garden.

is a flowering herbal plant that is native to woodlands in the range of the Appalachian mountains. From the southern Appalachians, all the way north to Quebec, Canada, this creeping perennial can cover large areas in pink, purple, or white flowers and two different types of stems and leaves. The stems which are flowering are separate from the creeping stems. Leaves on both types of stems are oval-shaped, but those on creeping stems are larger and broader than the leaves that grow on flowering stems. While the leaves are smaller, flowering stems are taller as they tend to grow towards the sky. While creeping stems grow sideways and can tangle together to make a thick, solid mass of Creeping Phlox. The leaves tend to be arranged in clusters and unevenly spaced with gaps from less than an inch to several inches in between each cluster. To successfully plant Creeping Phlox, planting in the spring or fall during mild temperatures is the best course of action. Each plant should be spaced twelve to eighteen inches apart as needed for complete garden coverage and to eliminate any undesirable "bald" spots. Once it securely established in the garden, Creeping Phlox only needs watering during warm, dry weather.

The Benefits of Landscaping With Creeping Phlox & Moss

Ever thought how pleasant it would be living a Garden of Eden? Well, your vision doesn’t have to be a dream anymore.

Aside from having a beautiful and luscious lawn, landscaping with creeping phlox has a lot of benefits.

Health Benefits A home whose outdoor landscape has creeping phlox is healthier compared to other homes. So, what does creeping phlox do?

Improve Air Quality Like other plants, creeping phlox filter smoke, dust, and other pollutants. The plant also produces oxygen that improves air quality.

Reduce Stress Did you know that looking at plants can relieve stress and even lower your blood pressure? Experts agree that your outdoor environment can influence your stress levels.

Boost Your Immune System Being in an environment with creeping phlox can boost your immune system by allowing your body to fight illnesses like flu and cold. This is because a landscape with creeping phlox fosters an active lifestyle.

Mental Health Benefits Many studies have shown that having an environment full of plants can reduce depression, anxiety, and other mental related problems. For instance, walking in a landscape with creeping phlox can also improve your short-term memory.

Environmental Benefits Controls Extreme Temperatures

A landscape with creeping phlox acts like an air conditioner. Imagine having an environment that is warmer during winter and cooler during summer. Won’t it be nice?

Controls Erosion If your house or business is on a hill, these plants can absorb or slow down runoffs, and reduce soil erosion. When you choose creeping phlox for your outdoor landscape, you boost your landscape design and help the environment.

Reduces Evaporation During summer, creeping phlox reduces soil degradation, usually associated with environmental pollution. Although creeping phlox may not function precisely as mulch, it restricts air movement, protects the soil from solar energy, and maintains a high water vapor pressure around the soil surface.

Economic Benefits Adds Value to Property Creeping phlox adds value to your property by making it look beautiful and well maintained. This delightful plant with bright purple, pink, blue, or white colors is the perfect option for your cascading or rock garden.

Makes Your Business Attractive to Prospective Buyers Businesses with high-quality landscapes are also more successful because customers tend to stay longer in commercial buildings with peaceful landscapes. This means that they will purchase more goods and services from these buildings.

Reduces Noise Plants and lawns reduce noise pollution compared to hard surfaces. Studies show that plants can reduce outdoor noise levels by about 20 to 30 percent.

Common Phlox Problems

Slugs can be a problem with fresh spring growth.

Split stems or distorted, misshaped leaves are likely to be signs of stem and leaf eelworm infestation. There is no cure, so affected plants should be dug up and destroyed. Replacement phlox plants should be grown elsewhere in the garden, and good garden hygiene imposed, removing all dead leaves. Affected plants can be used to take root cuttings before destroying them if desired.

Phlox is very susceptible to fungal infections such as leaf spot and powdery mildew. Neither is terminal, and infection can be avoided or reduced through good care of the plants, ensuring they do not suffer water stress, providing adequate ventilation, and not watering late in the day. The best way to prevent mildew is to keep the soil rich by mulching generously in the spring.

Extra attention is needed in the early summer when the days are warm and the nights cool. Mildew flourishes in conditions of fluctuating temperatures, and the plant is more susceptible when the foliage is wet or if it is suffering drought.

Some cultivars have greater mildew resistance, and horticultural trials in the United States suggest that Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’ is one of the best types to grow in badly affected gardens. The species Phlox amplifolia also performed very well, though it is not widely available in the UK.

Q The phlox smells lovely at the far end of my border – will it do well in the vase if I use it in an arrangement for the table?

Phlox is good for indoor arrangements, but the flowers will need to be looked after to stay their best. Do not use flowers cut from plants that are clearly affected by mildew, and cut any leaves from the stem before placing the flower in the vase. Provide some ferny foliage to set off the texture and colour of the flowers.

Q My phlox has been growing in a sunny border with some Achilleas for five years. While it grows tall and looks healthy, it has never flowered. There is no sign of mildew or leaf distortion. What is the problem?

If the plant seems green, lush and generally healthy, it may well be that the nitrogen to phosphorus ratio in the soil is skewed, favouring the production of foliage over flowers. Many herbaceous perennials are shy flowerers when they are over-provided with nitrogen and under-provided with phosphorus. Review your feeding regime, and in the first instance give the plant a good dressing of bone meal. Going forward, use a high potassium fertiliser such as sulphate of potash or tomato feed in late summer.

Q What types of phlox are best for my wildlife garden?

Most types of Phlox paniculata provide plenty of pollen and nectar for pollinating insects. Research in the US assessed 137 species and varieties of phlox for butterfly appeal and found that the cultivar Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’ was particularly attractive. The flowers of ‘Jeana’ are amongst the smallest of all phloxes, though they are nevertheless attractive to gardeners as well as insects. The sprays of candy-pink flowers are sweetly scented, and grow on tall stems up to 1.2m tall.

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