Moss phlox Phlox subulata
Moss phlox is one of those tried-and-true perennials that we often neglect in lieu of newer flowers. But wouldn’t you like to have a perennial that insects leave alone? Or one that comes through the coldest winters and the hottest summers without extra care?
You may know this spring bloomer as moss pink, mountain phlox, ground pink, creeping phlox or flowering moss. No matter what you call it, this perennial is easily recognized by the low, dense mounds of bright colors. There are several great named cultivars, but this perennial’s been around so long that often it’s just sold by color. To get the best habits and colors, try to find named cultivars like the ones shown here.
This plant grows best in a bed with good drainage. Click here to see how ‘White Delight’ and ‘Atropurpurea’ are used in a rock garden setting. Along a path where you can enjoy the flowers in spring is another good spot, especially since moss phlox tolerates the heat next to a sidewalk or driveway.
Wherever you grow it, it’ll look best if you plant several in a group. Use all one variety or create a tapestry of color by letting several colors grow together. (You can keep the names straight by using the nifty plant tags at right!)
TYPE Perennial BLOOM Flowers in shades of red, pink, violet, blue and white in early spring LIGHT Full sun to part shade SIZE 4 to 6 in. tall, 12 to 24 in. wide SOIL Well-drained, slightly alkaline PESTS None serious HARDINESS Cold: USDA zones 3 to 9, Heat: AHS zones 9 to 1