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Phlox subulata Phlox subulata

Common Name(s):

  • Moss Phlox
  • Moss Pink
  • Moss-pink
  • Thrift
Phonetic Spelling
FLOCKS sub-yoo-LAH-tah
Description

Phlox subulata, commonly called moss phlox, moss pink, mountain phlox or creeping phlox, is a vigorous, spreading, mat-forming, sun-loving phlox that grows to only 6” tall but spreads to 24” wide. It is noted for it creeping habit, its linear to awl-shaped leaves (which retain some green in winter) and its profuse carpet of mid-spring flowers with notched flower petals. It is native to somewhat dry, rocky or sandy places, open woodland areas and slopes from Michigan, Ontario and New York south to Tennessee and mainly in the Appalachians to North Carolina. From Latin, subulata means awl-shaped in reference to the leaves. Vegetation mats purportedly resemble moss, hence the common name of moss phlox. Many cultivars of this plant are available in commerce featuring flower colors of blue/purple, pink, red and white.

Moss pink is a perennial that is excellent for spring color. The plant is herbaceous when young and woody when older. It has many cultivars and has moderate drought tolerance. Moss phlox is well known to all as that bright groundcover found in landscapes across the state and may grow to a height of 6 inches. Vibrant pink, red, lavender, blue-purple, or white flowers cover the plant from late April to early May. Shearing the plants back after flowering may encourage a second, smaller flowering. 

Garden uses include rock gardens, edgings, foundations or ground covers. Ground covers are particularly valued in sunny areas of woodland gardens, slopes, native plant gardens or naturalized areas. Also appropriate for sunny areas of border fronts. Drape slightly over a rock wall.

 

Seasons of Interest:

    Bloom: Spring; Fruit/Nut/Seed: Spring

 

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Phlox subulata and its cultivars do not seem to be bothered by powdery mildew to the same extent as are most other species of phlox. Spider mites can be a problem, particularly in hot, dry conditions. Foliar nematodes can cause damage in wet/humid conditions. Watch out for rabbits.

Cultivars:
Tags:
#bees#native#purple#hummingbirds#red#white#butterflies#evergreen#pink#sun#blue#drought tolerant#spring#perennial#groundcover#herbs#native plants#flowers#wildlife plant#wildflowers#showy#woodland garden#naturalize#cpp#low flammability#deer resistant#Rock gardens#fire resistant
Cultivars:
Tags:
#bees#native#purple#hummingbirds#red#white#butterflies#evergreen#pink#sun#blue#drought tolerant#spring#perennial#groundcover#herbs#native plants#flowers#wildlife plant#wildflowers#showy#woodland garden#naturalize#cpp#low flammability#deer resistant#Rock gardens#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Phlox
    Species:
    subulata
    Family:
    Polemoniaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern and central United States
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Enhancement
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape. This plant has low resistance to damage from deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 9 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full Sun (Direct sunlight 8+ hours a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
  • Flower:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Pink moss has loose clusters (cymes) of fragrant, tubular flowers (to 3/4” wide) that bloom in April-May. The flowers are red-purple to violet-purple, pink or infrequently white. Each flower has five, flat, petal-like, rounded lobes that are distinctively notched.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Hairy
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    The foliage of the Pink moss is prostrate with creeping stems. Leaves are opposite to clustered and densely arranged and may have a fuzzy margin. The leaves are semi-evergreen, small, sharply pointed light green to gray-green and awl-shaped.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Rock Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Erosion