What Does Creeping Phlox Look Like When Not In Bloom

What Does Creeping Phlox Look Like When Not In Bloom

Creeping phlox, also known as moss phlox, is a delightful dwarf plant that forms low-growing cushions or mats of slender evergreen leaves. Even when it’s not in bloom, creeping phlox retains its attractive foliage, adding a touch of greenery to any landscape. Let’s explore the appearance, characteristics, and features of this versatile plant.

Key Takeaways:

  • Creeping phlox, or moss phlox, is a dwarf plant with slender evergreen leaves.
  • When not in bloom, creeping phlox forms dense, spreading cushions or mats.
  • The foliage is slender and can turn slightly brown in cold or dry weather, but fresh growth appears in spring.
  • Creeping phlox doesn’t produce flowers during the non-blooming period.
  • This plant is ideal for rockeries, raised beds, border edges, troughs, and pots.

Overview of Creeping Phlox

Creeping phlox is a delightful plant that offers a compact and spreading growth habit. With its slender stems and vibrant saucer-shaped flowers, it adds a pop of color to any landscape.

“Creeping phlox is nature’s carpet, creating a stunning display when in full bloom.”

This non-invasive plant reaches a modest height of 10-15cm and spreads up to 30-45cm, making it perfect for rockeries, raised beds, border edges, troughs, and pots. Its dense growth also helps suppress weeds, making it a gardener’s favorite.

During its relatively short flowering period, which takes place in late spring and early summer, creeping phlox showcases a spectrum of hues, including white, lilac, mauve, purple, and pink. Its delicate flowers are a joy to behold and attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies to the garden.

One of the appealing qualities of creeping phlox is its versatility. It can be combined with other plants that bloom at different times of the year, ensuring continuous visual interest in the garden. Whether nestled within a rockery or bordering a pathway, creeping phlox adds a touch of whimsy and charm to any outdoor space.

Without a doubt, the creeping phlox is a plant that delights the senses and enlivens the landscape with its beauty.

Growing Conditions for Creeping Phlox

To successfully grow creeping phlox, it is important to create the right conditions for this beautiful plant. Here are some guidelines on how to grow creeping phlox and where to grow it.

Soil and Sunlight

Creeping phlox thrives in fertile, well-draining soil. It prefers full sun or light shade, making it adaptable to various garden environments. When choosing a location, consider the amount of sunlight the area receives. Ideally, find a spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth and blooming.

Watering and Establishment

When planting creeping phlox, it is essential to keep the plant well-watered until it becomes established. Water the plant regularly, especially during dry spells, to ensure proper root development and growth. Once established, creeping phlox is drought-tolerant and requires less frequent watering.

Planting Locations

Creeping phlox is versatile and can be planted in various locations, including:

  • Rockeries
  • Raised beds
  • Border edges
  • Troughs
  • Pots

Its dense growth habit also makes it a great option for suppressing weeds in these areas.

Planting Time

Creeping phlox is best planted in spring or early summer. This timing allows the plant to establish its root system before the onset of harsh weather conditions. In mild areas, planting can also be done in autumn to take advantage of the moderate temperatures. Avoid planting in areas prone to water-logging, as this can lead to root rot and other issues.

Table: Comparison of Growing Conditions for Creeping Phlox in Different Locations

Location Soil Sunlight Watering Planting Time
Rockeries Well-draining Full sun Regular Spring or early summer
Raised beds Fertile, well-draining Full sun or light shade Regular until established Spring or early summer
Border edges Well-draining Full sun or light shade Regular Spring or early summer
Troughs Well-draining Full sun or light shade Regular Spring or early summer
Pots Well-draining Full sun or light shade Regular Spring or early summer

By following these guidelines, you can create the perfect growing environment for creeping phlox and enjoy its vibrant blooms in your garden.

How to grow creeping phlox

Care and Maintenance of Creeping Phlox

Creeping phlox requires very little care once established. Trimming of straggly growth can be done in late summer or early autumn. The plant can be propagated through softwood cuttings of the young shoots in spring. Powdery mildew and stem and bulb eelworm are common pests and diseases that can affect creeping phlox. Regular watering during dry spells and improving the soil’s water-holding capacity through organic mulching can help prevent powdery mildew. Infected plants should be dug up and disposed of to prevent the spread of eelworm.

Trimming and Propagation

Trimming is an important care practice for creeping phlox, especially as it helps maintain the plant’s shape and promote healthy growth. In late summer or early autumn, I recommend trimming any straggly growth to keep the plant neat and compact. This will also encourage the development of new shoots in the next growing season.

Propagating creeping phlox through softwood cuttings is a simple and effective way to expand your plant collection. In spring, select healthy young shoots and cut them just below a node. Remove the lower leaves, leaving a few at the top. Dip the cut end into rooting hormone powder and insert it into a pot filled with a well-draining soil mix. Keep the soil consistently moist and place the pot in a warm, bright location. Within a few weeks, the cuttings should develop roots and can be transplanted into individual pots or the garden.

Pests and Diseases

Creeping phlox can be susceptible to powdery mildew and stem and bulb eelworm infestations. To prevent powdery mildew, ensure your plants receive adequate air circulation and avoid overhead watering. If powdery mildew does appear, you can remove the affected foliage and apply a fungicidal spray recommended for phlox.

Stem and bulb eelworm can cause yellowing and stunted growth in creeping phlox. If you notice these symptoms, it’s crucial to take action promptly. Infected plants should be carefully dug up and disposed of to prevent the spread of eelworm to healthy plants. Avoid planting phlox in the same area for a few years to break the pest’s life cycle.

Watering and Mulching

Creeping phlox requires regular watering, particularly during dry spells. It’s important to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, as too much moisture can lead to root rot. To help the soil retain moisture and suppress weeds, add a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants. This will also protect the shallow roots from temperature fluctuations.

Common Care and Maintenance Practices for Creeping Phlox Benefits
Trimming straggly growth in late summer or early autumn Maintains plant shape and promotes new growth
Propagation through softwood cuttings in spring Expands plant collection and allows for easy propagation
Regular watering and mulching Prevents soil dehydration, suppresses weeds, and protects roots
Preventing and treating powdery mildew Ensures plant health and appearance
Identifying and managing stem and bulb eelworm infestations Preserves plant vitality and prevents spread to other plants

Buying Creeping Phlox

When it comes to buying creeping phlox, there are a few options to consider. You can find this beautiful plant in a range of colours at nurseries and garden centres. These local establishments often offer a selection of creeping phlox that you can personally inspect before making a purchase. It’s recommended to visit them when the plants are in bloom, so you can see the varieties in all their glory.

If you prefer the convenience of online shopping, you’ll be pleased to know that there are reputable retailers where you can buy creeping phlox online. These retailers provide a wide selection of creeping phlox, allowing you to browse through different colours and choose the variety that suits your taste and requirements. Some popular online retailers that offer creeping phlox for purchase include:

  • Thompson & Morgan
  • Suttons
  • Crocus

By exploring these online options, you can conveniently order creeping phlox from the comfort of your home and have them delivered right to your doorstep.

Where to buy creeping phlox online

My Personal Experience

“I found some stunning varieties of creeping phlox online and was amazed by the wide range of colours available. The convenience of online shopping allowed me to compare prices and read reviews before making my purchase. I highly recommend exploring your options and considering online retailers like Thompson & Morgan, Suttons, and Crocus for a fantastic selection of creeping phlox.”

Post-Bloom Care of Creeping Phlox

After the blooming cycle of creeping phlox, it’s important to provide proper care to ensure its continued health and vitality. This includes deadheading, pruning, and fertilizing the plant.

Deadheading and Pruning

One of the first tasks after the blooms have faded is deadheading. This involves removing the faded blooms from the plant, which not only improves its appearance but also promotes its overall health and vigor. Simply pinch or cut off the faded flowers close to the base of the stem using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears.

For moss phlox, the most popular variety of creeping phlox, more extensive pruning can be done. In late summer, after the initial blooming period, moss phlox can be cut back entirely. This encourages thick foliage growth and may even result in a second bloom in late summer. Prune the plant back to about half its height to promote new growth and maintain its compact form.


Fertilizing creeping phlox is essential for maintaining its nutrient levels and promoting strong growth. It’s recommended to fertilize the plant in the early spring before new growth appears and again after it has finished blooming. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer specifically formulated for flowering plants, following the package instructions for application rates.

Apply the fertilizer evenly around the base of the plant, taking care not to let it come into direct contact with the leaves or stems. Water the plant thoroughly after fertilizing to help the nutrients penetrate the soil and reach the plant’s roots.

Late Fall Care

In late fall, after the growing season has ended, it’s time to prepare creeping phlox for winter. Cut the plant back to ground level, removing any remaining foliage and spent flower heads. This helps prevent disease and pests from overwintering and prepares the plant for new growth in the following spring.

If your creeping phlox has become overgrown and crowded, late fall is also the ideal time to divide the clumps. Carefully dig up the plant and gently separate the roots into smaller sections. Replant the divisions in well-prepared soil, ensuring they have enough space to grow and spread.

Pruning creeping phlox

To summarize, post-bloom care of creeping phlox involves deadheading, pruning, and fertilizing. Deadheading the faded blooms promotes the plant’s health and appearance. Pruning moss phlox encourages thick foliage growth and potentially a second bloom. Fertilizing in the early spring and after blooming enhances the plant’s nutrient levels. Late fall is the time to cut back the plant and divide overgrown clumps for rejuvenation.

Reasons for Phlox Not Blooming

Phlox plants are known for their vibrant blooms, but sometimes they may fail to produce flowers. Several factors can contribute to this issue. Let’s explore some common reasons why phlox aren’t blooming and what can be done to stimulate blooming:

  1. Unsuitable growing environment: Phlox plants require specific growing conditions to thrive and bloom. If they are not planted in a suitable environment, such as soil that is too dry, compacted, or lacking in nutrients, they may struggle to produce flowers. Ensuring that the growing conditions match the plant’s needs is essential for encouraging blooming.
  2. Inadequate sunlight: Phlox plants need plenty of sunlight to bloom. If they are planted in a shady or partially shaded area, they may not receive enough light to stimulate blooming. Moving the phlox to a sunnier spot can help encourage the production of flowers.
  3. Lack of fertilization: Phlox plants benefit from regular fertilization to provide them with the necessary nutrients for blooming. If the soil lacks essential nutrients, the plants may not have the energy to produce flowers. Providing a balanced fertilizer according to the recommended dosage can help stimulate blooming.
  4. Overcrowding: Phlox plants can become overcrowded if they are not regularly divided. When the plants become crowded, they compete for resources, including water, nutrients, and sunlight, which can prevent blooming. Dividing the plants every few years can help alleviate overcrowding and promote blooming.
  5. Pot-bound in containers: Phlox plants grown in containers can become pot-bound if they outgrow their pots or have been in the same pot for too long. When the roots become tightly packed, they may struggle to absorb water and nutrients, hindering blooming. It is recommended to repot the phlox plants into larger containers or divide them to encourage blooming.

If your phlox plants are not blooming, assess these potential issues and take appropriate actions to address them. Providing the right growing conditions, sufficient sunlight, proper fertilization, and managing overcrowding or pot-bound roots can help stimulate blooming and bring forth a burst of vibrant flowers in your garden.

Tips to Encourage More Blooms in Phlox

To get phlox to produce more blooms, there are a few key factors to consider. By creating the optimal growing conditions and providing proper care, you can maximize the blooming potential of your phlox plants.

Grow in Full Sun Conditions

Phlox thrives in full sun, so it’s important to ensure they receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Planting them in a location with good airflow will also help prevent issues such as powdery mildew and improve overall plant health.

Fertilize Regularly

Fertilizing phlox annually, ideally in early spring, helps provide the nutrients necessary for robust growth and abundant blooming. If you notice a decrease in blossom production, additional fertilization throughout the growing season can stimulate more vigorous blooming.

Choose the Right Spot

Not all spots in your garden may be equally suitable for phlox blooming. Observing how phlox performs in different areas of your garden can help you identify the spot where they flower best. Moving the plants to this optimal location can significantly improve their overall bloom production.

Tip Description
Grow in Full Sun Provide at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day
Fertilize Regularly Apply fertilizer annually and adjust if blossom production decreases
Choose the Right Spot Observe phlox performance and move them to the spot where they flower best

By following these tips, you can enhance the blooming potential of your phlox plants and enjoy a stunning display of colourful blossoms in your garden.


As we come to the end of this article, we can appreciate the beauty and versatility of creeping phlox. Even when not in bloom, the evergreen foliage of this plant forms attractive low-growing cushions or mats, adding lush greenery to any garden. To ensure the healthy growth and blooming of creeping phlox, it is important to provide specific care and maintenance, such as regular pruning, fertilizing, and dividing of overgrown clumps. By following these recommended guidelines, gardeners in the United Kingdom can enjoy the year-round charm of creeping phlox in their landscapes.

So, whether you’re looking for an eye-catching ground cover for a rockery or a border edge, creeping phlox is an excellent choice. Its dense growth habit helps suppress weeds, making it an ideal plant for low-maintenance gardening. Remember to provide the plant with a suitable growing environment, including fertile, well-draining soil and full sun or light shade. Water the plant until it is established and trim any straggly growth in late summer or early autumn.

For those looking to expand their collection of creeping phlox, a variety of colours are available. Nurseries and garden centres offer a wide selection of plants, and online retailers like Thompson & Morgan, Suttons, and Crocus provide the convenience of purchasing creeping phlox from the comfort of your own home.

To ensure consistent blooming, it is essential to meet the plant’s requirements. Provide full sun conditions, good airflow, and consider fertilizing annually or when blossom production decreases. By following these tips and guidelines, you’ll be able to encourage more blooms and enjoy the vibrant beauty of creeping phlox in your garden.

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