All You Need to Know About Creeping Phlox: Varieties, Care Tips, and Uses


If you’re looking for a low-maintenance ground cover that will bring bursts of color to your garden, then creeping phlox is the perfect choice. This perennial plant, also known as Phlox subulata, is native to the eastern mountains of North America and is widely used for its cascading carpet-like growth and beautiful blossoms.

Creeping phlox is known for its ability to thrive in a variety of conditions. It prefers well-drained soils, but can also tolerate poor or sandy soils. This plant will flower best in full sun, although it can handle some shade. It’s important to provide enough moisture to the plant, avoiding overwatering and allowing the soil to dry out between watering. Thoroughly wetting the soil during dry periods is a good practice for this plant’s care.

One of the unique characteristics of creeping phlox is its ability to grow close to the ground, creating a lush green carpet-like cover. The plant’s leaves are linear, hairy, and green in color, with blooms ranging from pinks, to purple, to white. Creeping phlox also attracts butterflies, making it a perfect addition to a butterfly garden.

When it comes to planting creeping phlox, there are a few tips to keep in mind. The best time to plant is in the spring or fall, giving the plant time to establish roots before the summer heat or winter cold sets in. To ensure proper development, space the plants about 12 inches apart, allowing enough room for them to spread and create a thick, colorful blanket.

Creeping phlox is a relatively low-maintenance plant, but there are a few diseases and pests that you should be aware of. The most common problem is phytophthora, a fungus that causes brown spots on the leaves. To avoid this, make sure the plant has good air circulation and is not overcrowded. Another common pest is the phlox borer, a small caterpillar that feeds on the stems of the plant. To control these pests, you can remove and destroy infected plants, or use insecticides if necessary.

In conclusion, creeping phlox is a beautiful and easy-to-grow ground cover that will add a touch of colorful beauty to your garden. Its carpet-like growth, cascading blossoms, and ability to attract butterflies make it a popular choice among gardeners. Whether you’re planting it as a border or using it to cover a slope, creeping phlox is sure to create a stunning focal point in any landscape.

Creeping Phlox Guide: How to Plant and Grow Creeping Phlox

Creeping phlox, also known as Phlox subulata, is an easy-to-grow perennial plant that provides beautiful carpet-like growth in your garden. Native to the eastern regions of North America, this plant is popular among gardeners for its low-maintenance nature and stunning floral display.

If you’re considering planting creeping phlox in your garden, follow these tips to ensure proper care and growth:

  1. Choose the Right Location: Creeping phlox thrives in sunny areas with well-drained soil. Make sure to find a spot with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  2. Prepare the Soil: Before planting, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or debris. Mix in some sand to improve drainage, as creeping phlox is prone to fungal problems in wet conditions.
  3. Divide and Propagate: To encourage better growth, divide mature creeping phlox plants every 2-3 years. This practice will help maintain their vigor and prevent overcrowding.
  4. Planting Process: Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the creeping phlox plant. Place the plant in the hole, making sure the crown is level with or slightly above the soil surface. Backfill the hole with soil and gently firm it around the plant.
  5. Watering and Fertilizing: Water your creeping phlox regularly, particularly during dry spells. However, avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot. Apply a slow-release fertilizer once a year to promote healthy growth and abundant flowering.
  6. Established Care: Once established, creeping phlox requires minimal care. However, keep an eye out for any signs of diseases or pests, such as phytophthora or spider mites. If necessary, treat the affected areas promptly.
  7. Enjoy the Beauty: With proper care, your creeping phlox will reward you with a stunning display of flowers in various shades, including pink, purple, and white. The colorful blooms attract butterflies and provide a waterfall-like effect in your garden.

To ensure the best possible growth and health of your creeping phlox, it’s crucial to follow these planting and care tips. By providing the right growing conditions and regular maintenance, you can enjoy the easy beauty of this versatile plant year after year.

Creeping Phlox Care

Creeping Phlox, also known as Phlox subulata, is a popular flowering plant that forms a carpet-like ground cover. It is a member of the Polemoniaceae family and is native to eastern and central regions of North America. Creeping Phlox can grow in various colors, such as pink, purple, white, and blue, and it blooms in early spring.

If you’re planning to grow Creeping Phlox in your garden, it’s essential to know about its care guide and requirements. Here are some tips to help you care for your Creeping Phlox:

  • Planting: Creeping Phlox thrives in sunny locations with well-draining soil. It can grow in various soil types, including sandy and rocky soils. When planting, make sure to space the plants about 12 to 18 inches apart to allow proper airflow and prevent diseases.
  • Watering: While Creeping Phlox is drought-tolerant once established, it’s crucial to water the plants thoroughly during dry spells in summers. Make sure to water at the base of the plant to avoid wetting the foliage, as this can lead to diseases.
  • Fertilizing: Creeping Phlox doesn’t require much fertilization. However, you can improve the flowering performance by applying a balanced slow-release fertilizer in early spring.
  • Temperature and Winter Care: Creeping Phlox is hardy, and it can withstand cold temperatures and frost. However, in regions with severe winters, it’s advisable to provide a layer of mulch around the plants to protect the roots. Cut back any dead stems or foliage in early spring before new growth appears.
  • Propagation: Creeping Phlox can be propagated through division or rooting stem cuttings. Dividing the plants every few years helps maintain their vigor and prevents overcrowding. Stem cuttings can be taken in late spring or early summer.
  • Pests and Diseases: Creeping Phlox is generally resistant to common pests and diseases. However, keep an eye out for signs of stress and common issues such as powdery mildew or blight. If identified, treat the affected plants accordingly.
  • Enjoying Creeping Phlox: Once established, Creeping Phlox provides a beautiful carpet-like foliage and colorful blooming. It can be an excellent addition to rock gardens, slopes, borders, or as a ground cover in sunny locations.

By following these care tips, you can ensure your Creeping Phlox thrives and adds beauty to your garden. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, this versatile plant is easy to grow and will reward you with its vibrant colors.


The light requirements for creeping phlox vary depending on the species and variety. Generally, creeping phlox prefers full sun to partial shade. It is most commonly found in sunny locations, where it can receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. However, some varieties of creeping phlox can tolerate more shade than others.

When it comes to the technique of growing creeping phlox, light plays a crucial role. Although it can tolerate partial shade, it will produce more blooms and have a denser habit when grown in full sun. The sunlight helps the plant to have better blooming and overall health.

In terms of soil, creeping phlox prefers a well-drained soil with a sandy or rocky texture. It is important to provide good drainage, as waterlogged soil can cause root rot and other issues. Additionally, creeping phlox is not picky about soil pH and can tolerate a wide range of conditions.

When planting creeping phlox, give each plant enough space to spread and grow. This will allow them to form a dense mat and enhance the beauty of the overall planting. It is also a good practice to divide larger clumps of creeping phlox every 2-3 years to maintain their vigor and prevent overcrowding.

Creeping phlox is native to the mountains of North America and is a member of the Polemoniaceae family. It is a low-growing perennial with woody stems and small, needle-like foliage. The flowers come in a variety of colors including pink, lavender, white, and various shades of red. The bloom period varies depending on the species and growing conditions, but generally occurs in spring to early summer.

Creeping phlox is a great addition to a rock garden, slope, or as a ground cover in sunny areas. It is an easy-to-grow plant that is drought-tolerant and can withstand a wide range of temperature conditions. The hairy leaves help to conserve moisture and act as a natural mulch, while the colorful flowers attract butterflies and other pollinators.

In summary, when it comes to growing creeping phlox, light is an important factor. It prefers full sun to partial shade, although it can tolerate more shade in some varieties. Providing well-drained soil and allowing enough space for the plants to spread and grow is also crucial. With the right growing conditions, creeping phlox can bring a carpet of colorful blooms and add beauty to any garden or landscape.


Creeping phlox, also known as Phlox subulata, is a low-growing perennial plant that is easy to care for and produces beautiful blooms. One important aspect of growing creeping phlox is choosing the right soil.

Creeping phlox is best grown in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. It prefers a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. It is important to avoid heavy clay soils that can retain too much moisture, as this can lead to root rot and other problems. If your soil is heavy clay, you can improve its drainage by adding organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure.

Creeping phlox can tolerate a wide range of soil types, including sandy or loamy soils. However, it is important to avoid soils that are too compacted, as this can restrict root growth and lead to a less vigorous plant. To improve soil structure, you can incorporate coarse sand or perlite into the planting area.

Another important factor in growing creeping phlox is the amount of sunlight it receives. Creeping phlox prefers full sun, although it can tolerate some light shade. It is best to choose a spot in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day in order to ensure optimal growth and bloom.

When planting creeping phlox, it is important to give each plant enough space to spread and grow. Space the plants at least 12 to 18 inches apart to allow for their spreading habit. As they mature, the stems will become thick and woody, creating a dense foliage blanket that covers the soil.

In terms of soil moisture, creeping phlox prefers a moderate water supply. While it can tolerate some drought, it is important to provide regular water during dry spells, especially in the summer months. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other issues.

Creeping phlox can be propagated through various techniques, including division and rooting cuttings. Division is the most common method and should be done in early spring or early fall. Dig up the mature plants and carefully divide the clumps, ensuring that each division has plenty of roots. Replant the divisions in well-prepared soil and water thoroughly.

In terms of maintenance, creeping phlox does not require much fertilization. A light application of a balanced fertilizer in early spring can help promote healthy growth and blooming. However, be careful not to over-fertilize, as this can result in excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers.

Creeping phlox is native to North America and is well-adapted to its natural environment. It is resistant to many common pests and diseases, including phytophthora, and is relatively low-maintenance. However, it is important to keep an eye out for any signs of stress, such as wilting or browning foliage, and take appropriate action.

In conclusion, soil is an important factor in the successful growth of creeping phlox. Choosing the right soil, providing adequate sunlight, and maintaining proper moisture levels are key to ensuring a healthy and beautiful display of pink or white blossoms. With proper care, your creeping phlox plants will become established and flourish, creating a stunning carpet of color in your garden.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.