How to Transplant Phlox Subulata


Phlox subulata, more commonly known as creeping phlox, is a lush ground cover which quickly fills in areas of landscape in rock gardens, on slopes, or around patchy areas of lawn with poor soil which would otherwise tend to stay bare. In the spring, the creeping phlox flowers, creating a carpet of purple, pink or even white flowers only inches off the ground for about a month. To transplant phlox subulata, you can either dig up the entire plant and move it to a new location, or you can divide the plant to spread new growth elsewhere in your landscaping.

Step 1

Let your creeping phlox flower as it normally would in spring and plan to transplant it immediately after flowering is complete. Work your shovel around the base of your plant to loosen it from the ground and bring the entire root ball to the surface. Move to Step 3 if you intend to transplant the entire plant whole.

Step 2

Split the plant into four to five clumps of individual plantings with a hand trowel. If you want to keep the location you are already using, place one of the phlox clumps back into the hole and fill in the area with fresh compost or humus.

Step 3

Dig a new hole for each creeping phlox at least 8 inches wide and deep. Be sure you transplant the phlox to a full-sun, well-draining area of your yard and space the plantings 12 to 15 inches apart. Replace half of the existing soil in the hole with compost or humus and mix it in to make it a light consistency.

Step 4

Knock off excess soil from around the roots of the phlox without breaking any of the roots. Set the plant into the soil of the new hole to the same depth at which it was previously planted. Fill in the area around the phlox with soil and press it lightly to firm the soil.

Step 5

Water the phlox well after transplanting and continue to water it once or twice a week for the first month to keep the plant hydrated while the roots take hold. Over the summer months you should only need to water your phlox if your region is experiencing extreme drought, otherwise no further watering is needed.

Tips and Warnings

  • Feeding creeping phlox with fertilizer is not recommended.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Hand trowel
  • Compost or humus
  • Water


  • "Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening"; Carroll C. Calkins; 1993
  • "New Complete Guide to Landscaping"; Better Homes and Gardens; 2002
Keywords: transplanting creeping phlox, transplanting Phlox subulata, moving creeping phlox

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.