How to Care for a Creeping Phlox


Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) is a charming, demure woodland plant, happy to blend into the background in a dense, green carpet until the colorful pink, purple and lavender blooms burst out in spring. Creeping phlox is especially effective along the edge of a flower bed, or on a rocky hillside. Plant creeping phlox in well-drained soil, make sure it gets plenty of bright sunlight, and it will grow with very little care.

Step 1

Plant creeping phlox where it will get a minimum of four to five hours of sunlight every day. Although creeping phlox will grow in poor, dry soil, it will thrive in moist, well-drained soil.

Step 2

Water creeping phlox regularly during hot, dry summer weather. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, then water thoroughly, but not to the point that the soil is soggy. Otherwise, moisture from rainfall will be adequate.

Step 3

Feed creeping phlox a water-soluble fertilizer for blooming plants once a month in spring and summer. You can also opt to feed creeping phlox just once in early spring, using a granular timed-release fertilizer. Either way, apply the fertilizer according to the directions.

Step 4

Cut creeping phlox back to one-third to one-half of its height after flowering every year, using clippers or a mower set on high level. Cutting creeping phlox back will encourage new growth, reduce pests, and keep the plant bushy and healthy.

Step 5

Lay a few evergreen boughs over the creeping phlox during the coldest days of winter if you live in a northern climate with very cold winters. The boughs from a Christmas tree work very well.

Things You'll Need

  • Creeping phlox
  • Water-soluble fertilizer for blooming plants or granular, timed-release fertilizer
  • Clippers or mower
  • Evergreen boughs (optional)


  • Iowa State University: Perennial Phlox for the Home Garden
  • University of Florida: Phlox subulata
  • Ohio State University: Phlox subulata
Keywords: creeping phlox, phlox, Phlox subulata

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.