Moss Phlox, Phlox sublata

Moss Phlox

Phlox sublata

Sun Shade:
Bloom Time: Spring
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Medium
Color: Violet
Fragrance: No
Height: 3-6 inches
Spacing: 1-2 feet


Moss Phlox, Phlox subulata, also called Creeping Phlox, Moss Pink, or Mountain 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 its 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.

The blooming period occurs during mid- to late spring for about 3-5 weeks. Loose clusters (cymes) of fragrant, tubular flowers bloom in April-May. Flowers are red-purple to violet-purple, pink or infrequently white. Each flower has five, flat, petal-like, rounded lobes that are distinctively notched. Linear to awl-shaped, green leaves . Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by small 3-valved seed capsules that are about 4 mm. long. Each capsule contains 3 or more seeds. The root system is fibrous. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.

Habitats include sandy roadsides, sandy or gravelly areas along railroads, and rocky bluffs. It is a conservative species that occurs on riverside outcrop prairies, shale glades, limestone glades, serpentine barrens, and rocky ledges of cliffs.

Best grown in humusy, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Best flowering is in full sun, but plants generally appreciate some dappled sun in areas with hot, humid summers. Good soil drainage is important. Plants grow well in sandy or gravely soils and tolerate hot, dry exposures better than most other species of phlox. Plants will self-seed in optimum growing conditions.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Ground cover for woodland gardens or shade gardens.
  Species self-seeds in optimum growing conditions.
Further Information

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 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
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 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries