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Care of Creeping Phlox

By M.H. Dyer ; Updated September 21, 2017
Creeping phlox will spread out, creating a carpet of evergreen foliage that will be covered with bright blooms in spring.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Will Need

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

About the Author


M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.