Care of Creeping Phlox


Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) is a cold-hardy, fast-growing evergreen plant that will herald the coming of spring every year with a carpet of flowers in shades that can vary from red to pink, lavender or white, depending on the variety. Although creeping phlox is often planted as a ground cover, it also works well in containers, in rock gardens or along walkways. Once established, creeping phlox is an undemanding plant that will thrive with little maintenance.

Step 1

Plant creeping phlox bedding plants in full sun or partial shade, and well-drained soil. Allow 18 inches between each plant to allow room for growth.

Step 2

Water the plants immediately after planting and keep the soil moist until you see new growth. After that time, creeping phlox is fairly drought-tolerant, and needs water only during hot, dry weather.

Step 3

Fertilize creeping phlox once every spring by spreading compost around the plants or applying an all-purpose liquid fertilizer. Additional fertilizer isn't necessary, and too much bushy foliage can be damaged by winter cold.

Step 4

Prune creeping phlox down by one-third to one-half after the plant is finished blooming in early summer. Pruning will keep the plant healthy and promote bushy growth.

Step 5

Protect creeping phlox from winter burn during hard freezes by covering the plants loosely with evergreen boughs. Covering the plants is especially important if you live in a climate where the plants won't be protected by a snow cover. Remove the boughs when the weather warms in spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Creeping phlox bedding plants
  • Compost or all-purpose liquid fertilizer
  • Garden pruners
  • Evergreen boughs


  • Ohio State University: Phlox subulata
  • University of Florida: Phlox subulata Creeping Phlox, Moss Pink
  • Gardening-tips: Creeping Phlox
Keywords: creep phlox, ground cover, evergreen

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.