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One of the delights of spring is admiring a banking covered with the flowers of creeping phlox plants.creeping phlox picture Many ground covers boast, first and foremost, a usefulness in fighting against erosion and/or weeds. Creeping phlox plants, however, are not only useful, but also highly colorful (in spring, at least). There are a number of colors from which to choose, including the lavender shown in the picture. Many homeowners plant creeping phlox in color combinations. I especially like the pink and white combination, which reminds me of Good & Plenty candy!

Read article: Creeping Phlox Plants

Photo ©2006 David Beaulieu (licensed to About, Inc.)

Comments

March 29, 2008 at 6:53 am
(1) Mojave19 says:

BTW, it was after this plant (creeping phlox, moss pink, mountain phlox) that the full moon of April was named : Pink Moon.

May 3, 2008 at 11:24 am
(2) carolyn says:

do phlox creep from the roots or from the top branches.

May 3, 2008 at 3:29 pm
(3) landscaping says:

Creeping phlox spreads via stolons that taker root wherever they make contact with the ground.

May 20, 2008 at 12:51 pm
(4) Becky says:

does that mean if I plant creeping phlox in a bed full of rock – it can’t spread properly because the roots will not touch soil?

May 20, 2008 at 1:02 pm
(5) landscaping says:

Yes, if the bed is “wall-too-wall rock,” the creeping phlox shouldn’t be able to spread much.

July 11, 2008 at 12:23 pm
(6) Julie says:

Is there a variety of phlox that will flower all summer?

July 11, 2008 at 12:58 pm
(7) landscaping says:

I am not familiar with a variety of creeping phlox that will bloom all summer.

August 2, 2008 at 1:57 am
(8) lenny says:

i have the creeping phlox and much of it turned brown, i cut these parts off and there was not much left of the plant. was that a good move?

August 2, 2008 at 9:19 am
(9) landscaping says:

If the brown stems of creeping phlox were truly dead, then you haven’t really lost anything by removing them. I’d just keep the creeping phlox watered this summer and hope for the best next spring — there’s not much else you can do at this point.

March 30, 2009 at 3:05 pm
(10) jennifer says:

How fast does creeping phlox spread??

March 30, 2009 at 5:53 pm
(11) landscaping says:

Jennifer,

As with any other plant, how fast creeping phlox will spread depends on a number of factors, such as sunshine received, water received, soil, etc. One can really only speak, consequently, in relative terms: creeping phlox won’t spread as quickly, all conditions being the same, as, say, English ivy.

April 28, 2009 at 8:18 am
(12) Anne says:

I had what I can only describe as winter die-off of my creeping phlox. Last fall the plants were fine, but this spring after the snow melted there were large patches of crumbling, dead matts of phlox. My creeping phlox in another part of my yard is fine. What went wrong in the part that died?

May 24, 2009 at 2:00 pm
(13) Charlene says:

I just planted some creeping phlox a few weeks ago and I believe that some creature ate all of the flowers off. Someone told me to put crushed red pepper around the plants to discourage further damage, but is there anything else I can do to get the flowers back this season and also will they now come back next season since they have been so damaged?

June 22, 2009 at 10:01 am
(14) landscaping says:

Anne,

Could be any of a number of things. For example, creeping phlox is susceptible to fungal diseases if it gets its feet (roots) too wet — a definite possibility in some regions when we transition from winter to spring.

June 22, 2009 at 10:12 am
(15) landscaping says:

Charlene,

The crushed red pepper works on the principle that it’s stinky, so it offends the pests’ noses; but note that, if your (or a neighbor’s) cat gets crushed red pepper in its eyes, it could cause damage. You could substitute other stinky substances — mothballs are commonly used to discourage pests, for example (put the mothballs in jars and punch holes in the tops to release the smell, then bury the jars in the area around your creeping phlox; mothballs are toxic, so they’re safer to use in a jar).

Reblooming this year is questionable, but I wouldn’t bet against your creeping phlox blooming next year.

August 15, 2009 at 7:26 pm
(16) Tami says:

I planted three clumps of very healthy beautiful creeping phlox in an area where I had previously planted other phlox that thrived…they bloomed…Today I looked and all the plants have died off. All that is left are some sparse brown twigs. are they gone for good. Has anyone ever experienced phlox dying off after their first bloom??

September 3, 2009 at 12:32 pm
(17) Jiill says:

I am trying to make a border with the phlox, however they keep spreading towards the middle of the flower bed. Is there any way to “contain” them to one area? Maybe with that black plastic edging?

September 4, 2009 at 9:10 am
(18) landscaping says:

Jill,

Exactly, edging is your best option.

March 31, 2010 at 12:57 pm
(19) Steve says:

I have a steep bank about 30 feet by 8 feet. Too steep to mow so grass is not an option. Would like a good ground cover that is pretty (it’s in my front yard) and low maintenance. Needs to be able to really hold the ground. Mixed sun with seasonal direct sunlight. Is phlox a good option for this?

April 2, 2010 at 6:52 pm
(20) landscaping says:

Steve,

I would try Vinca minor.

April 3, 2010 at 9:20 pm
(21) watdog says:

can you plant creeping phlox in a weed barrier and mulch bed?

April 3, 2010 at 9:58 pm
(22) landscaping says:

Watdog,

Not ideal conditions for creeping phlox.

April 3, 2010 at 11:52 pm
(23) Ben says:

Similar question to Wardog, I need a ground cover suggestion for over weed cover and mulch?

Vinca or Pachysandra? Better suggestion?

April 10, 2010 at 12:33 pm
(24) michele says:

We edge around our phlox all summer, but my creeping phlox bed has been invaded by grass. Is there any way to kill the grass without harming the phlox?

April 11, 2010 at 10:09 am
(25) landscaping says:

Michele,

Not that I know of — you have to hand-pull the grass around your creeping phlox. However, if you plant more creeping phlox to fill in the area more tightly with the ground cover, it should eventually crowd out the grass.

April 13, 2010 at 8:52 pm
(26) joan says:

I just planted creeping phlox 4 days ago and today I noticed some are wilting and others are fine. I have watered 3 of the four days. They are not turning brown, but drooping like a heavy rain pounded them. I didn’t water alot. Was it still to much water or not enough? They get sun for about 6 hours and I used only a little manure when planting.

May 1, 2010 at 11:58 am
(27) landscaping says:

Joan,

Probably just transplant shock. You didn’t necessarily do anything wrong in caring for your newly transplanted creeping phlox.

May 5, 2010 at 11:42 am
(28) Connie says:

I have a raised bed of knock out roses. I have kept them heavily mulched, but would now like to plant a ground cover underneath them. Would creeping phlox bo okay for this purpose?

May 7, 2010 at 4:18 pm
(29) Bekah says:

I have a nice area of creeping phlox that I would like to rearrange. Any advice on digging/ replanting? I do not want to hurt it!

May 7, 2010 at 5:34 pm
(30) landscaping says:

Bekah,

Dig and transplant your creeping phlox in the evening or on a cloudy day. Get as much of the root system as you can. After transplanting, water well.

May 7, 2010 at 7:49 pm
(31) landscaping says:

Connie,

As long as the rose bushes don’t shade the creeping phlox, and as long as you water the creeping phlox adequately, I don’t see any problem, off-hand. Raised beds tend to dry out quick, so don’t forget the watering.

May 8, 2010 at 5:31 pm
(32) landscaping says:

Ben,

For a sunny area, I’d recommend blue rug juniper.

May 14, 2010 at 2:09 pm
(33) AAA says:

I have a pond that I want to landscape with phlox but there is grass growing there now will the phlox out grow the grass or what is your suggestion?

May 14, 2010 at 9:13 pm
(34) KBA says:

My phlox bloomed beautifully this spring but about two days ago the center of the plant turned brown overnight. Two things have been going on: 1. We have had a week of very heavy rain and 2. About two days ago I broadcast about three tablespoons of FlowerTone on top of the plant. Could it be that the fertilizer has burned my plant or could this be the result of so much rain? What do you recommend I do?

May 15, 2010 at 9:36 am
(35) landscaping says:

KBA,

I’d go with the fertilizer as the culprit behind your creeping phlox’s turning brown, if I had to guess. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it. If it weren’t for the fact that you said you had heavy rains (and the browning still took place), I’d say try flushing out the fertilizer with water.

May 17, 2010 at 1:11 pm
(36) landscaping says:

AAA,

I would kill the grass first.

May 6, 2012 at 6:32 pm
(37) Allan says:

Will Preen prevent creeping phlox from spreading? We’ve weeded out grass from our bed, but there is bare soil around the plants where we would like to keep down other stuff.

May 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm
(38) landscaping says:

Allan,

I’ve never tried Preen to prevent the spread of creeping phlox, specifically, but my bet would be that, yes, it will prevent the spread.

May 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm
(39) Allan says:

Oops, I see why you interpreted what I said in exactly the opposite of what I meantómy fault.

I meant we have cleared out the grass and weeds around our creeping phlox and want it to spread into the cleared areas, and want to know if we can use Preen on the bare soil to keep weeds out while the phlox spreads.

I guess I wonder if creeping phlox spread through the root system or by seeds.

May 7, 2012 at 6:11 pm
(40) landscaping says:

I see. Yeah, there should be no problem using the Preen. Creeping phlox spreads more via underground stems than via seeding (Preen stops only the latter).

May 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm
(41) Ray says:

I planted some creeping phlox this early spring and it bloomed and spread and look amazing. Then when it turned summer the plants turned brown and looked dead. I cut all the dead off and trimmed the plant back and I am continuing to water it. Is it possible it will come back next spring? I have a pretty green thumb, my petunias, zinnias, and marigolds have always reseeded themselves for years.

May 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm
(42) landscaping says:

Ray,

Some browning is natural; total browning is not. If there’s some green still, there’s hope. If not, the heat may have killed these new creeping phlox plants.

June 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm
(43) jessica says:

I just planted 10 little patches of creeping phlox. I live in Tx, it’s June and already up in the90′s. These plants are in the sun for the most part of the day. I am worried they will not survive the heat/sun. I really do not want these to die, we bought them as a ground cover. We have a 15×3 ft flower bed on the side of our driveway that we planted them in. We got tired of spending every Saturday picking weeds out of there so we decided with the phlox. we planted 10 in a row hoping they will spread on their own and eventually cover more surface area. We have mulch covering the remaIning bare area. Was this a good plant to put in this area? Do you have any tips on how to make sure they survive the transplant and hot tx summer? I am the type of person that seems to somehow kill every plant I try to grow.

June 11, 2012 at 7:56 am
(44) landscaping says:

Jessica,

Personally, I would abandon the idea of trying to grow creeping phlox there and instead switch to Angelina stonecrop. The latter ground cover does a better job of standing up to heat and drought. Good luck!

May 3, 2013 at 8:32 am
(45) Kiri says:

I just wanted to thank landscaping for your helpful answers to so many people! I’ve learned a lot just reading–thank you!

May 3, 2013 at 11:18 am
(46) landscaping says:

You’re welcome, Kiri. Thank you for leaving so generous a comment.

May 3, 2013 at 10:06 pm
(47) Em says:

I live in Ohio and am planting my creeping phlox tomorrow around the border of a stone wall that edges some of my driveway. About 5 feet in from the wall is several large trees. I plan on “plowing” up some dirt but am kind nervous that the roots of these large trees are going to be a problem. Any chance of this being successful? Any planting suggestions?

Also, how far back from the stone wall should I plant ?
(I would like the phlox to eventually hang on the side of the wall)

May 4, 2013 at 10:56 am
(48) landscaping says:

Em,

Successful in terms of not damaging the tree roots or getting the creeping phlox off to a good start? I would be more concerned about the former. Where you see damage, you should prune the tree root in question, rather than leaving it frayed. Also, it can be bad for tree roots to have soil dumped atop them, so beware of that (in case you’re thinking of building up the level of the area).

In terms of how close to plant the creeping phlox to the wall, I would plant them as close as possible. As long as they have good soil in which to root (and as long as you water adequately), they should be fine.

May 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm
(49) Em says:

Thank you. I think if I plant the phlox close to the wall, it should be far enough away from the tree roots that it shouldn’t be a problem. My newest problem is, when I began digging, I dug into an underground be hive! So, I’m not sure at this point what I will do.

May 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm
(50) Ken says:

We’re thinking of planting creeping phlox along the top of a stone wall but I have heard that root systems of most plants eventually will deteriorate the integrity of the wall system. Is this true for phlox?

May 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm
(51) David says:

I’d worry about the root systems of trees and shrubs in this connection more so than a plant like phlox. If you want to err on the side of caution, you could always incorporate something similar to a bamboo barrier.

May 13, 2013 at 7:34 am
(52) Ken says:

Thanks for the response, David. It sounds like you don’t think that the phlox roots would be a problem but then you link to the bamboo barrier article that talks about a barrier going 30″ deep into the ground! Wow! That seems extreme!

May 13, 2013 at 11:50 am
(53) David says:

You’re welcome, Ken. Regarding the bamboo barrier mention, though, note that I preceded it with the words, “If you want to err on the side of caution….” That was basically my way of saying: “If it were my yard, I wouldn’t worry about the creeping phlox roots. But if you’re the worrying type, you could take the, yes, ‘extreme’ measure of installing some sort of barrier.” Judging from your rational response, it does not sound like you’re the type to worry excessively, so you can disregard my mention of a barrier.

May 14, 2013 at 7:29 pm
(54) Jessica says:

I just moved into a house and inherited a small hillside of magenta and lavender moss phlox. However, I didn’t know so much about plants and put a hefty amount of Shake and Feed weed preventer on them about a week and a half ago, and then we had a week of rain. The pink section is doing just fine, but the lavender is droopy and almost wilting. Is there anything I can do to revive them or are they gone for good?

May 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm
(55) landscaping says:

If they could have been revived (by washing out the excess fertilizer), the rain probably would have done it. Sorry to hear that you’ve lost your creeping phlox.

May 24, 2013 at 3:35 pm
(56) Kara says:

We planted some Fort Hill Creeping Phlox in the beginning of May. It is in the front of our house and I would say that it at least gets 5 hours of sun light. The afternoon sun. However, it is starting to look droopy. I do not know if this is because it is not receiving enough sunlight or if we are watering too much or not enough. It is still green and has purple flowers. Any information that you could provide would be very helpful. This is our first attempt at planting some flowers.

May 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm
(57) landscaping says:

Kara,

I probably don’t have enough information to go on here to give an adequate answer. But if I had to guess, I’d say it’s a watering issue. Since I can’t give you an exact amount of water to use (there are too many factors to consider), my recommendation is to experiment. Try less water. If that doesn’t work, try more. The general rule is that, when you test (with your fingers) the soil around the roots, it should be evenly moist (not wet, not dry).

June 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm
(58) Colby says:

We have newly planted creeping phlox 6 weeks ago. There are no longer any flowers, however the plant remains green. Is this a good sign? Also, I have read in earlier comments that you are supposed to cut back old growth on the phlox. When is a good time for this, now that the plant is no longer flowering?

June 18, 2013 at 8:01 am
(59) Jesse says:

Planning on planting creeping phlox in the hillside, will it eventually grow the grass/weeds out? Or will they always grow between the phlox unless removed?

June 18, 2013 at 9:23 am
(60) landscaping says:

Jesse,

Creeping phlox will eventually fill in enough to help you suppress some weeds, but you’ll always need to help it out a little by doing some weeding. Grass is especially difficult to suppress — you’ll still need to weed out any grass that emerges periodically.

July 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm
(61) landscaping says:

Colby,

Green is almost always a good sign on a plant. As for cutting back old growth on phlox, the people talking about that are probably referring to needles that have turned brown. As with most plants, any time is a good time to remove brown (dead) growth.

August 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm
(62) kAY says:

I have had patches of beautiful phlox in my landscaping and other areas around my home, but after blooming this spring, they have all dried up and appear dead. I have had these same plants for several years and have never had this problem before. Do you know what could have happened?

August 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm
(63) landscaping says:

Kay,

Sorry to hear that. Some regions have experienced a hotter period this summer than they get in many summers and that has put on a lot of stress on some plants. Without more information, my best guess is that this circumstance would have had something to do with it.

September 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm
(64) Kristen says:

I am in zone 5 and in my area its end of September…heading into fall & I’m starting to plant my fall bulbs for spring bloom. I got a great deals on some red creeping phlox from an online nursery and I want to plant these as soon as I get them in front of some shrubs in front of my house/to create a colorful border. The front of my home gets plenty of sun.
I’m concerned that they will die off over the long northeast winter. Has anyone ever attempted to plant creeping phlox in fall with a successful bloom in spring??

September 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm
(65) Kristen says:

btw….the red creeping phlox is bareroot…should I plant it now or wait until spring & store the bareroot plants until spring & then plant them? How should I store the bareroot over the winter months?

September 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm
(66) David says:

Kristen,

Creeping phlox plants are commonly planted in the fall as well as in the spring, even in the Northeast. For an autumn planting, I would just be sure to baby them. Don’t pick a hot day (or even hot time of day — evening is better) to plant them. Water them well. Some people even throw a blanket over them during a cold night to guard against frost damage.

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