How To Grow Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera) In Your Garden

Phlox stolonifera, commonly known as Creeping Phlox, is a beloved evergreen perennial plant. It is cherished for its mat-forming habit and delightful spring flowers, these blanket the plant.

This Perennial Phlox plant typically reachs a height of 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm).

Matt forming Phlox stolonifera plants
Phlox stolonifera photograph by Laura Blanchard; CC.

Creeping Phlox stretches out horizontally in a mat forming manner, to reach a spread of about 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 m). This makes it a very effective ground coverage plant.

This means that Phlox stolonifera is often grown for its excellent ground cover capabilities. Especially has it carries a lovely display of fragrant and brightly colored flowers, and that it is not a preferred choice for pesky deer.

Plants adapt well to USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8 (RHS H6), providing a spectrum of growing regions. A major plus point is that it is not invasive in the United States, ensuring a safer environmental footprint.

How to Grow Phlox stolonifera in the Garden

For those keen on growing Phlox stolonifera, be aware that the plant flourishes in locations that offer dappled shade to full sun. It enjoys moist, well-drained soil, but can adapt to different soil types, from loamy to sandy, so long as there is good drainage.

Creeping Phlox plants in bloom
Creeping Phlox image by peganum; CC.

It is best to plant Phlox stolonifera during spring or early fall. Once planted, water generously.

While Phlox stolonifera is drought-tolerant once established, it will still benefit from regular watering, particularly during dry spells.

Creeping Phlox growth can be further enhanced through the application of a slow-release fertilizer in early spring, this helps to promote a rich bloom of flowers.

One of the main maintenance care tasks for Creeping Phlox is deadheading spent flowers, which can encourage a second bloom, and also help create a neat appearance.

While the plant is generally resistant to pests, it may sometimes suffer from spider mites.

Phlox stolonifera Cultivae Blue ridge flower close ups.
Phlox stolonifera CV. Blue ridge flowers image by Staudengärtnerei Forssman; CC.

Adding Phlox stolonifera to your garden means you will witness a dazzling display of colorful, fragrant flowers come spring.

The dense growth habit of the plant not only suppresses weeds, but also unifies a garden's aesthetics, making it a great choice for covering sparse parts of the garden.

Quick Phlox stolonifera Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Phlox stolonifera.

Common Name(s): Creeping Phlox, Moss Phlox.

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 5-9; RHS Hardiness H6, hardy to (-20°C / -4°F).

Best Used For / Garden Location: Ground cover, rock gardens, woodland gardens.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial.

Plant Height: 6-12 in (15-30 cm).

Plant Spread: 12-18 in (30-45 cm).

Blooms: Spring.

Flower Details: Small, fragrant, five-petaled flowers, typically lavender to pink.

Leaf Foliage: Green, needle-like foliage.

Fruit: Not notable.

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Full sun to partial shade.

Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained, sandy or gravely soil.

Sowing, Planting: Plant in spring or fall, space 1-2 ft apart.

Germination Time: 2-3 weeks if starting from seed.

Propagation: Division or stem cuttings in spring or autumn.

Plant Care: Needs regular watering, especially in dry periods.

Growing in pots and containers: Suitable, but regular watering is crucial.

Growing as a House plant: Not typically grown as a houseplant.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Attracts butterflies, resistant to deer.

Pests and diseases: Susceptible to powdery mildew, spider mites, and root rot.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: 'Bruce's White' produces white flowers; 'Home Fires' bears deep pink flowers.

Family: Polemoniaceae, the Phlox family.

Native: Eastern United States.

References and Further Reading: University of Mississippi, Creeping Phlox; New York Plant Atlas; RHS Plant Guides.

Common Questions

Does Phlox stolonifera make a good garden plant?

Creeping Phlox makes an excellent garden plant. It forms a mat of color when in bloom, and serves as an excellent ground cover, especially useful in shadier areas.

Is Phlox stolonifera a fragrant plant?

Yes, Phlox stolonifera is a very fragrant plant. It emits a sweet aroma from its clusters of tiny, vibrant flowers. These can help to attract butterflies, and hummingbirds in areas where these birds are native.

What is the perfect location to grow Creeping Phlox?

Phlox stolonifera thrives in part shade to full shade and prefers rich, well-drained soil. It's an excellent plant for a woodland garden or shady border.

Is Phlox stolonifera invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

No, this plant is a USA native (the woodlands of the Appalachian mountains).

How do I remove Creeping Phlox from my garden?

To remove Phlox stolonifera, cut the plant back and carefully dig out the root system. Monitor for any regrowth and promptly remove any new sprouts.


Creeping Phlox is a perennial plant that prefers partial shade and well-drained soil. With its creeping habit and springtime clusters of lavender-pink flowers, it makes an excellent ground cover.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Phlox stolonifera. You may also enjoy the following Phlox family growing guides: How to grow Annual Phlox, Gilia, Cobaea, and Polemonium plants in the garden.

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