Propagating Phlox

In the spring time one ground cover really stands out due to its prolific flowering. Creeping phlox or Phlox stolonifera really punches out the color for a couple weeks in spring then fades into a nice lush and green carpet of foliage. You can use it on slopes, around mailboxes or as a low growing front border plant. It has many options. As many other ground covers are, this one is easy to propagate. I took a small cutting last summer from a plant at my in-law’s house. I popped it in some dirt and kept it watered through the Drought of ’07. When fall came and the rains returned I forgot about it. I left it sitting in its little pot in the front garden area. Last week I rediscovered this wayward cutting to find lots of green growth and a good deal of budding. I didn’t take a picture of it last year but it was an unbranched cutting that was approximately 3-4 inches long. I don’t remember if I used rooting hormone or not, and I don’t think it’s necessary, but it may speed things up a little.

I’m not sure what the exact variety is, or even if there is one for this particular plant (‘Candy Stripe’ comes to mind, but I don’t have any way to know for sure) other than the botanical name: Phlox stolonifera. The word stolonifera is used in many plant names and indicates that the plant has a rooting stem or stolon. Another example of this would be a Red Twig Dogwood whose botanical name is Cornus stolonifera. Plants like this are prime candidates for propagation since rooting is a natural method of reproduction for them.In the photo above you can see the sprig and its progress. Once I took the phlox out of its pot to transplant it I found that the root system went all the way to the bottom of the pot. In the picture below you can see all its flower buds. Not bad for a little sprig!

I took some pictures of the torrential downpours we had today. I’ll have them up sometime this weekend!

14 Replies to “Propagating Phlox”

  1. I love phlox. It is very pretty this year.

  2. I love the colours of the ground phlox in the early spring. I’ll be doing some propogating of it this season too. I usually just stick it in the ground where I want it to be, but I like the idea of doing it in pots so it can be better looked after during the dry times.

  3. I love creeping phlox. I took some cuttings last year from my sister’s creeping phlox late last summer. The transplants are very small, but they’re green, and I know they’ll grow pretty quickly. They’re so small they may not bloom this spring. That’s ok, I’m sure they’ll bloom next spring if they don’t this year.

  4. Pretty pink phlox practically propagated….

    That is a sweet pink, glad all is well in the Home Garden after yesterday’s storms,

  5. The container it is started in says it all — it’s a real PERFORMER. 🙂

  6. Phlox reminds me of my childhood home in TN. We had an L-Shaped planter that enclosed the front porch full of pink bloomer! I dont see much of it here in GA and have been hesitant about planting any in my garden due to the rabbits. They love the stuff!

  7. skeeter, I am so surprised more phlox is not down there. When I lived in southern Alabama it was EVERYWHERE! I had never seen it before and all the people around there called it thrift. I so coveted some of it, but no gardener offered me any. Can you imagine? It is so easy to share!

    Hi Dave, I was wondering if you were busy weeding this weekend. I am taking a break. Going to get some blackberry lillies soon. I hope they bloom. Have a good weekend all!

  8. Tina, I grew up calling it thrift also as that is what my grandmother called it! The Saints mom taught me phlox as she had a ton of it in their yard in VA. That is where I would see the rabbits eat it!

  9. skeeter, where does the name thrift come from? Did your grandmother tell you?

  10. Crafty,

    I roots very easily. I just use old pots from other plants as temporary holding places for them. Gotta recycle!

    Garden Girl,

    Sometimes things don’t flower the first year after being propagated. I’m sure they’ll grow full in strong though by the end of this spring. Good luck with them!


    Good use of alliteration! Everything is fine done here. The rain came fast though. At one point we had half an inch of rain in about 15-20 minutes.


    I guess so! If only putting all plants into pots with such labels would do the same.


    The rabbits may love the phlox but it spreads good. Surely they couldn’t eat all of it. Maybe put something scented next to them like lavender or rosemary.


    I’ve been busy today. I did a little weeding but not a while lot. We went to the Williamson Co. Expo Center for the Bloom’N Garden Expo. I bought a few things that I’ll share soon. They will stay in the garage until Wednesday. Unless the forecast changes…

  11. Hi Dave, I went to that show last year with Geri! We had a good time. Got a peony and some wildflowers. I heard it has gotten bigger and better. Glad you got some purchases and I will be looking for that post.

  12. Dont know where the name thrift comes from Tina. I just know that is what my granny called it! She called her Quince a Japonica bush. She did not call certain things what we call them today. Maybe a southern thing.

  13. Thanks Skeeter! Do any southern garden bloggers know where the name thrift comes from?

  14. […] phlox was already featured a few days ago in a post about propagating phlox. I think it’s worth showing off […]

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