Creeping phlox, Phlox stolonifera, is an ideal ground cover for partial shade. Creeping phlox is a popular perennial ground cover that grow in Zones 2-8. Find facts and information on growing and caring for phlox, and how to find the best varieties. You may also be interested in regular garden phlox, Phlox paniculata, which is a different type of phlox with different characteristics.
Creeping Phlox Facts
This plant grows only 6” high x 12” wide, and has a spreading habit making it ideal for taking up space where fillers or ground covers are needed. They may also be used in woodland gardens where they can spread and present a natural effect that is needed in woodland gardens.
Creeping phlox prefers partial shade with protection from the afternoon sun and fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5. It has lavender to purple flowers that appear in spring. The leaves are dark green in color. Place them in groups in the woodland garden or use as a ground cover under trees and shrubs.
Good companion plants include ‘Pictum’ Japanese painted fern, ‘Elegans’ Siebold hosta, and ‘Mrs. Moon’ Siebold.
Planting Creeping Phlox
Plant 6-12” in spring or fall. Apply a slow release fertilizer when planting and apply 3” of vegetative mulch in summer and winter to reduce weed seed germination, and to hold moisture in the soil.
Water new transplants daily, or water deeply only when the soil feels almost dry to 2” below the surface. If using an irrigation system, maintain deep, infrequent waterings and avoid delivering a light sprinkle every day. Organic matter in the soil and mulch on the soil surface will help the soil retain moisture. Plants can be sheared back after flowering to encourage a compact growth habit.
Propagation is done by dividing the plant in spring or fall. Dig around the root clump and lift with a sharp spade. Plant healthy pieces and discard pieces that do not appear to have healthy roots and top shoots.
Problems with creeping phlox include pests such as spider mites and diseases of powdery mildew.
Related Species and Best Creeping Phlox Varieties
'Candy Stripe' bears pink stripes on white (bicolor)
'Sherwood Purple' bears purple flowers
‘Ariane’ bears white flowers with a yellow center.
‘Home Fires’ bears pink flowers.
‘Pink Ridge’ bears pale pink flowers.
‘Violet Vere’ bears violet flowers.