Creeping Phlox Plants

Favorite Spring-Flowering Groundcover

tulips and phlox
Tulips and creeping phlox: a dynamic duo for a spring flower border. David Beaulieu

Taxonomy of Creeping Phlox:

Plant taxonomy classifies creeping phlox plants as Phlox subulata. Besides "creeping phlox," another common name for P. subulata is "moss pink," a name which suggests both its growth habit and the bloom color for which it is most widely known. Some prefer "moss phlox" as a common name. Both of these alternate monikers help distinguish this plant from .

Botanical Classification:

Botanically speaking, creeping phlox plants are herbaceous perennials .

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones:

Indigenous to eastern and central portions of the U.S., this perennial ground cover can be grown in zones 3-9.

Characteristics of Creeping Phlox Plants:

In spring, creeping phlox plants produce small flowers in dense clusters. If massed together as a groundcover, creeping phlox plants make a powerful landscaping statement. The colors available are red, white, blue, pink, rose, lavender, purple or variegated. Creeping phlox plants reach 6" in height and spread out 2'. Some of the needle-like foliage remains green throughout the winter.

Plant Care:

After the blooming period, shear the foliage of creeping phlox plants back. This "pinching" will encourage foliage to become denser, thereby making your creeping phlox plants a more attractive groundcover for the summer months. If you wish to propagate creeping phlox plants through division, divide them in spring, immediately after blooming.

Sun and Soil Requirements:

Creeping phlox plants do best in full sun and in evenly-moist but well-drained soils rich in humus. The plants exhibit moderate clay-tolerance.

Uses for Creeping Phlox Plants in Landscape Design:

Since creeping phlox plants stay short and spread, they are widely used as groundcovers.

Although homeowners with flat land can use creeping phlox plants as groundcover to form plant borders along lawns, etc., their dazzling spring flower display is most easily appreciated when they are planted on slopes. In the latter case, these colorful, low-growing plants not only offer a bit of help in preventing erosion, but also blanket the slope with vibrant color in spring. This flowering groundcover is also often used in rock gardens.

Wildlife Attracted to Creeping Phlox Plants:

A plant that attracts butterflies, creeping phlox is a splendid choice for butterfly gardens.

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