Creeping Phlox

Scientific Name: Phlox subulata

Common Name: Creeping Phlox, Moss Pink

Description: Hardy, evergreen, North American perennial; clusters of violet-purple, pink or white flowers, often with star-shaped petal lobes in early to mid-spring; dense, bright green foliage

Size: Mat forming plants to 6 inches high and 20 inches wide

Cultural Information: Prefers light, well-drained, somewhat alkaline soil and full sun; shearing plants back half-way after flowering promotes dense growth and re-blooming

USDA Zones: 3 through 8

Historical Notes: This ornamental phlox is native to the eastern and central United States and was introduced into cultivation by the late 1700s. John Bartram first cited this species when he wrote to Peter Collinson in December 1745 as it became one of the first "low-growing" species to enter Great Britain.[1] In his The American Flower Garden Directory, Philadelphia nurseryman and florist Robert Buist included the following description of this phlox: "In the spring of 1831, an eminent British collector [Thomas Drummond] exclaimed, on seeing a patch of P. subulata in one of the pine barrens of New Jersey, 'The beauty of that alone is worth coming to America to see, it is so splendid.'"[2] Pink, white, and red garden varieties were known by 1850.[3]

- Peggy Cornett, n.d.


Further Sources


  1. ^ David Stuart and James Sutherland, Plants from the Past: Old Flowers for New Gardens (London: Penguin Books, 1989), 198.
  2. ^ Robert Buist, The American Flower Garden Directory 2nd ed. (Philadelphia: E.L. Carey & A. Hart, 1841), 3244; Denise Wiles Adams, Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940 (Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004), 201.
  3. ^ Adams, Restoring American Gardens, 200.