Is Creeping Phlox Invasive? (Yes, here’s why)

Are you worried that Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) might take over your landscape or choke out other plants?

phlox invasive

Before I answer this question, let’s get the basics out of the way first. Shall we?

Creeping phlox is a common garden plant.

It’s best to plant it in a row, in a sunny location, where it can benefit from extra water during the hot summers. 

Then, fertilize in late winter and early spring with a general slow-release fertilizer for flowering plants.

However, be careful to plant phlox at least 6 inches apart, and do not over-fertilize.

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Is Creeping Phlox invasive?

Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) is an invasive species, spreading as wide as 9 inches (20 – 60 centimeters). Although the phlox species make for a good ground cover, they can alter your landscape, prevent sunlight from reaching your other plants, and do a lot more.

Why You Should Get Rid of Invasive Plants

Invasive plants are everywhere. They can be introduced in your area from a neighbor’s garden, or brought to your city through other means.

In short, invasive plants are harmful to the environment, they kill native plants, choke out other plants, destroy wildlife habitat, soak up the nutrients and snuff out all the sunlight.

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How Tall and Wide Does Creeping Phlox Grow?

If you’re wondering if creeping phlox is invasive, you should know that it grows from 3 to 8 inches tall and spreads up to 2 feet wide. It grows in mounds about 4 – 6 inches thick.

While it’s not a serious weed, it does make an excellent groundcover or companion plant. 

It’s especially useful on slopes where it’s not a problem because it prevents erosion. If you’re wondering whether creeping phlox is invasive or not, you can look online.

In the spring, creeping phlox will bloom and will spread to other parts of the garden. They’re a tough groundcover, so don’t worry about over-watering it. 

They won’t cause damage, but you can still take precautions to keep them under control. This is one plant that doesn’t require any special care, so you can enjoy them right away. It requires supplemental watering in the hot summer, so make sure you give it ample time to establish itself.

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Caring for Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) Plant

If you decide to keep the phlox, I want you to know it’s an easy plant to grow and maintain. It’s easy to propagate, and you can take cuttings from the plant to help with the maintenance. 

Once you have established it in your garden, you can cut off the flowering stems. Then, watch it for any pests and deadhead it to prevent it from becoming a problem. If you notice any, use organic insecticidal soap to treat the infestation.

If you don’t want to lose your beautiful phlox plants, you can divide them and transplant them. 

They are easy to propagate. For a full-scale spread, you can divide the plants and put them in different areas. 

Besides, it will spread and cause havoc if you don’t remove the roots. If you have a hillside garden, you can let it drape over the rock wall and create a carpet of colorful blooms.

Creeping Phlox Can Choke Out Other Plants

| Plant Gardener

Because it is an invasive plant, it can take over a space if allowed to grow unchecked. It can also take over your yard if it’s not cultivated, and choke out other plants, as a result. 

The plants are a weed and must be removed immediately. If you want to keep it in a garden, deadheading is the only way to keep it from spreading out.

But, if you’re worried about the invasiveness of phlox, don’t worry.

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How to Stop Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) From Spreading

1). Plant Creeping Phlox in Staggered Rows

The first step in stopping creeping phlox from spreading is to control its growth and spread. 

These plants spread by sending out long, leggy runners. To prevent this, plant them in staggered rows, leaving a few inches of space between each plant. 

They can be planted directly into the ground, but if you want to prevent them from spreading, soak the root balls first and follow the directions on the package.

2). Weed Creeping Phlox Often

Unlike many other plants, creeping phlox doesn’t require a lot of water or fertilizer to grow, so you’ll need to weed it often. 

Fortunately, it’s pest-resistant, so you’ll have less trouble with spider mites than with other types of weeds.

In addition to weeds, this species needs moderate amounts of moisture to stay healthy, so you can reduce your watering costs by irrigating during dry spells.

3). Propagate Plant With Stem Cuttings

If you have a rock garden, you can easily propagate creeping phlox with stem cuttings. After flowering, healthy stems take root better. 

Remove the foliage from the lower half of the stem. Place the cutting in a plant rooting hormone and watch it take root. The plant will spread if it needs water. It should grow well after rooting if you don’t overwater it.

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4). Divide the Plant

Another way to control creeping phlox is to divide the plants. This can be done every couple of years. Just dig up the roots and cut them in half. 

Then, plant the new stems in the soil surrounding the old one. Once the new plant has sprouted several stems, it is time to remove the foliage. 

In a few days, you’ll be able to notice a difference in the appearance of the plants.

Despite its low growth rate, creeping phlox is not prone to many problems. However, the plant needs to be divided regularly to maintain its shape and size.

The rooting process is easy for this plant and it can be divided every two or three years. After flowering, the stems should have at least one set of leaves. Then, they should be dipped in a plant rooting hormone.

If you are using a potted plant, it is necessary to divide it every 2 to 4 years. Fall is the best time for dividing a creeping phlox plant. The best time to divide a creeping phlox plant is early spring or fall. 

To divide it, dig out the roots of the plant and separate them into two equal parts. Then, the resulting clones should be placed in another well-drained pot.

When to Divide Creeping Phlox

The best time to divide creeping phlox is before it blooms. Once it has finished flowering, cut it into half or more and place the new plant in the same spot. 

The new stems will grow, and it is a good time to do this as it will continue to look attractive. If you want to prevent the plant from spreading, you can prune the lower half of the stem and place the rest of it in the center.

In the fall, a healthy rooted stem is easier to root, but you can do the same with creeping phlox at any time. After you have removed the lower half of the stem, dip it in a plant rooting hormone to encourage it to root.

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Uncover the truth about Creeping Phlox! Dive into our blog to discover if this vibrant ground cover is invasive or a garden gem. We explore its characteristics, care tips, and potential challenges. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting, this guide provides insights to cultivate a thriving garden with Creeping Phlox. Enhance your green space with the knowledge to harness the beauty of this versatile plant. Read more at PlantGardener and empower your gardening journey today. 🌿


The best way to stop creeping phlox from spreading is to prune away dead stems

This plant is a low-maintenance plant that needs only minimal water to survive. If you want to control its spread, it is best to use a fertilizer that is suitable for the soil. That way, the plant will grow thicker, without having to take over the yard.

If you want to maintain your plant’s beauty, you can also keep it healthy with a few simple changes.

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