How to Propagate Creeping Phlox

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Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) is also known as moss pink and moss phlox. The stiff, narrow leaves are an inch long and 1/16 inch wide. These green leaves blend into the grass when the phlox is not in bloom. In late winter and spring, the 6-inch tall plants produce flowers in red, lavender, pink and white shades. This flat, spreading plant is used as ground cover, in rock and wall gardens and as a cascading container plant. Creeping phlox is propagated through stem cuttings taken in the summer or fall.

Difficulty: Moderate


Things You’ll Need:

  • Plant pot
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Spray bottle
  • Creeping phlox parent plant
  • Sharp knife
  • Small container
  • Rooting hormone
  • Sticks
  • Clear plastic wrap
  1. Wash a plant pot that is at least 3 inches deep in soapy water. Rinse the container in a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water. This eliminates hidden pests and plant disease.

  2. Mix together equal parts peat moss and sand. This creates a sterile rooting medium that drains quickly, provides air circulation to the developing roots and holds moisture. Fill the plant pot with the mixture and spray it with water until it is thoroughly wet.

  3. Check the creeping phlox parent plant for plant diseases and any other damage. Use a plant that is healthy. Cut a 3- to 5-inch long piece of stem with a sharp knife in the early morning while the stems are full of water pressure. Take the stem cutting from the end of a branch consisting of this season’s growth. Do not cut a branch with flower buds.

  4. Remove the lower half of leaves to create a bare stem. Dip the cut end in a small container with rooting hormone in it. Tap the excess rooting hormone off the cutting. Insert the cutting into the plant pot. Space other cuttings so their leaves do not touch. Spray the cutting container with water.

  5. Slide four to six sticks into the soil near the edge of the plant pot. Drape clear plastic wrap over the top of the sticks so the plastic does not touch the cuttings. This creates a greenhouse effect and increases humidity around the cuttings. Place in indirect light, spray the cuttings daily and remove the plastic when the cuttings put on new growth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Transplant the creeping phlox to an area of full sunlight once it starts to grow vigorously. Water the new plants if the soil starts to dry out.

  • Choose your growing area carefully when planting creeping phlox. This is an aggressive, spreading plant that will happily take over the area and smother other nearby plants.

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