Creeping Phlox Seeds: Plant and Grow This Flowering Ground Cover!

Written by August Croft
Updated: September 21, 2023
© Astfreelancer/
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If you are looking to update your landscaping or garden area with some beautiful flowers, have you considered growing creeping phlox seeds? A popular flowering ground cover, creeping phlox is easily grown from seed or starts, depending on your preference. But how can you best grow creeping phlox from seed, and what varieties of creeping phlox are there?

Creeping phlox grown from seed is easy when directly sown in spring. Simply scatter creeping phlox seeds in a location that gets full sunlight except for the hottest part of the day and water well. You’ll need to thin your young phlox plants as they age, as spacing is key to their survival. Otherwise, phlox is easy to maintain, returning year after year depending on region and variety!

Let’s talk about creeping phlox in more detail, including our step-by-step guide to growing your own plants from seed!

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creeping phlox seeds
Creeping phlox grown from seed is easy when directly sown in spring.


Creeping Phlox SeedsHow to Grow
Hardiness Zones3-10 for annuals, 4-8 for perennials
Popular Creeping Phlox Varieties“Candystripe”, “Purple Beauty”, “Fort Hill”, “Angelina”, “Snowflake”
Time of Year to PlantSpring, when the soil is over 60 degrees Fahrenheit
Spacing Preferences of Young PlantsKeep seedlings 1-3 inches apart, especially in wetter regions
Things to NoteCreeping phlox attracts pollinators and is deer and rabbit-resistant!

Types and Varieties of Creeping Phlox Seeds

creeping phlox seeds
Creeping phlox is typically classified as such when the plants grow similarly to ground cover, reaching no taller than eight inches in height.


There are countless cultivars and types of phlox plants, including creeping varieties. Creeping phlox is typically classified as such when the plants grow similarly to ground cover, reaching no taller than eight inches in height. It’s also known as moss phlox for this reason, popular because of its fragrant flowers and long blooming time!

Here are some popular creeping phlox varieties, though there are plenty more to explore!:

  • Candystripe“. Pictured above, this creeping phlox variety has delicate purple blooms with white stripes. Enjoy these flowers for nearly a month in late spring and summer.
  • Purple Beauty“. Delicate star-shaped flowers in an iconic violet shade. Grows well in sunlight and produces foliage that looks like grass, making it a perfect ground cover.
  • Fort Hill“. Pink flowers with a lovely fragrance. Typically a heavy producer, so much so that it can be difficult to see the foliage underneath when this plant is in bloom!
  • Angelina“. A bit taller than the average creeping phlox variety, with lavender flowers in clusters. Smells delicious too.
  • Snowflake“. Pure white flowers with bright yellow centers. Delicate and small, with enough flowers to make an entire garden smell delightful.

Things to Consider About Phlox Seeds

creeping phlox seeds
You should make sure that your creeping phlox plant is watered appropriately and thinned to avoid mildew or mold growth from other plants or overcrowding.


There are a number of different methods that you can use in order to grow creeping phlox, and you don’t necessarily have to grow it from seed. Creeping phlox is readily available in nurseries and garden centers as whole plants or starts, which may work well for you if it is already springtime in your region. There’s no reason to delay witnessing the beautiful blooms that phlox can provide!

However, creeping phlox is also easily sown directly from seed, or you can even take cuttings from existing creeping phlox plants. No matter which method you choose, this plant grows readily and easily when planted properly. Make sure to choose a location that gets full sunlight, but not too much sun in the heat of the day. The more sunlight that creeping phlox gets, the more flowers it is likely to produce. 

You should also make sure that your creeping phlox plant is watered appropriately and thinned to avoid mildew or mold growth from other plants or overcrowding. However, once established, your creeping phlox plants will thrive, whether it was grown from seed or propagated cuttings! 

Germinating and Growing Creeping Phlox from Seed

creeping phlox seeds
Phlox seedlings may need to be thinned.

©Andrew Pustiakin/

Given the fact that you can directly sow creeping phlox seeds into your garden or backyard, the process is relatively easy. You can even grow from propagation or division from existing plants, but growing from seed is very rewarding. Here’s how to grow creeping phlox, both through direct sowing methods as well as indoor starts:

  • Make sure your soil has proper drainage. Creeping phlox is prone to mildew and root rot problems, which means that you should get a mixture of sand and soil or other well-draining mixtures. Prepare your garden area before sowing your seeds.
  • Scatter creeping phlox seeds in a sunny location, when the soil is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. For the best flowers, you should plan on planting your creeping phlox in a full sunlight location, but keep in mind that you may need to protect it during it the hottest parts of the day. For the most part, creeping phlox is drought resistant, but some varieties may be more delicate than others. You can sow phlox seeds in spring or summer, and don’t cover them with soil.
  • Thin seedlings as they grow. Creeping phlox germinates quickly and you will likely have sprouts within a month or two, depending on the variety. However, overcrowding means the death of most phlox plants, so be sure to thin your young plants before they get too established. Depending on the size, you should plan on spacing your creeping phlox plants at least a foot apart. Don’t worry – they will fill in these gaps in no time! 
  • If you want to grow creeping phlox indoors, start them 2 months before your final frost date. This process is ideal for those of you who live in an area where spring comes later than most locations. You can start your seedlings inside, in a warm location. Make sure to harden them outdoors for a few days before planting, but the overall process is the same as directly sowing! 

Harvesting Creeping Phlox Seeds

creeping phlox seeds
Once your creeping phlox flowers have fully bloomed and started to wilt, keep a close eye on them and watch for seed pods.

©Daria Katiukha/

While you don’t necessarily need to save your creeping phlox seeds if you are growing them as a perennial, choosing to harvest your own seeds can be a rewarding opportunity. Here’s how to harvest unique seed pods from your creeping phlox so that you can grow this ground cover, year after year: 

  • Watch your flowers carefully, and don’t trim them. Once your creeping phlox flowers have fully bloomed and started to wilt, keep a close eye on them and watch for seed pods. They can be difficult to see at first, but they become more obvious as the flowers slowly die and turn brown.
  • Remove the seed pods once they turn brown. Most phlox varieties will release their seeds quickly and without warning, so it’s a good idea to remove your creeping phlox seed pods once they turn brown and begin to dry out. 
  • Let your seed pods dry out further. If you notice that your harvest still feels soft or fresh, set your seed pods in a dark and dry location to finish drying out. You’ll know they are ready once you can safely break the pod open. 
  • Open up the seed pods. Once they have dried adequately, creeping phlox seeds can be found within the pods that you harvested. Carefully crack them open and spill out the contents inside. You can store the seeds for a few years, kept in an envelope or jar. This way, you can enjoy your phlox plants for years to come!

Bonus: Is There a Phlox Variety That Does Well in Partial Shade?

Purple phlox grow in early spring, among the bright green may apples in this shady spring woods
Phlox stolonifera is native to Appalachian landscapes and does well in shady areas.
Image: Susan B Sheldon, Shutterstock

©Susan B Sheldon/

There are varieties of creeping phlox that do well in shady areas with partial sun. Phlox stolonifera is a type that is native to North America and can often be found growing wild in Appalachian landscapes. It is often confused with phlox subluata – which requires full sun. Phlox Stolonifera produces low mats of foliage with plants blooming in the spring on 6 to 8-inch flowering stems. Varieties include Blue Ridge, Pink Ridge, Bruce’s White, Home Fires, and Sherwood Purple.

Vertical image of 'Gold Heart' bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos [formerly Dicentra] spectabilis)  with forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica) and 'Sherwood Purple' creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera)
This wild landscape includes bleeding hearts, forget-me-nots and Sherwood purple phlox.
Image: Nancy J. Ondra, Shutterstock

©Nancy J. Ondra/

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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

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