lavender flowers of phlox subulata groundcover native to maryland

Moss phlox. Photo: M. Talabac, University of Maryland Extension

Updated: August 2, 2022

About Moss Phlox

Phlox subulata
Herbaceous perennial

Maryland Distribution: Mountain and Piedmont regions
Height: 6 inches
Flowers: rose, pink, or white flowers in April-May
Fall color: evergreen
Sun: full sun
Soil: any soil type; dry; pH 5.7-7.5

phlox subulata growing in a rock garden
Moss phlox planted in a rock garden. Photo: M. Talabac

Garden Uses: Moss phlox (Phlox subulata), also called moss-pink or creeping phlox, is native to the Eastern United States, including Maryland. It is found naturally on rocky crevices, slopes, sandy sites, and open clearings in full sun. In April-May, moss phlox is covered with a blanket of showy pink, white, or rose flowers. Cultivars extend the palette of color options to magenta, lavender-blue, and pink/white striped. Shearing back the plants after flowering can sometimes generate a second flush of blooms. When not in flower, this spreading groundcover plant provides a dense, moss-like cushion of green foliage. Use it as an edging plant along a walkway, driveway, or sidewalk; on a sunny slope or retaining wall; or in a rock garden. Needs well-drained soil. Tolerates drought, air pollution, and occasional deer browsing.

Wildlife: The flowers of moss phlox provide nectar for bees, skippers, and butterflies.

butterfly on phlox flower
Olive Hairstreak on moss phlox flower. Photo: M. Talabac

References

Moss Phlox, Illinois Wildflowers 

Phlox Subulata, North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox

Slattery, Britt E., et. al. 2005. Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, Chesapeake Bay Field Office, Annapolis, MD. 82 pp.

Compiled by: Christa Carignan, Horticulturist & Coordinator, Home & Garden Information Center. 2022

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