The Q&A Archives: Creeping Phlox

Question: Are there any special tricks in the
Care of Creeping Phlox in high desert area?

Answer: There are two species of phlox commonly grown in gardens today: P. stolonifera or creeping phlox and P. subulata or moss phlox, sometimes called moss pink or ground pink. These low-growing native American perennials are suitable for carpeting rock walls and banks with sheets of lavish spring color. Most phlox have flowers that bloom in loose clusters of four to ten blossoms.

Creeping phlox is native to eastern woodlands. It spreads rapidly on stems that root wherever nodes touch the ground, forming broad mats of foliage. Creeping phlox grows to only 6 - 12 inches high and is commonly used as a ground cover. Its broad oval leaves, about 1 1/2 inches across, are covered with downy hairs and lie flat on the ground, forming a dense carpet. The flowers are an inch across and usually come in shades of blue or purple.

Phlox is hardy in Zones 3-8. Creeping phlox grows best in shade or dappled sunlight in soil enriched with leaf mold, pH 5.5 to 7.0. Moss phlox, the easier species to grow, thrives in full sun in almost any well-drained soil. Phlox may be grown from seed, sown in spring or fall, or from nursery plants set out in the spring or autumn and spaced about 10 inches apart. To stimulate fresh growth and sometimes renew blooming, shear the foliage after flowering.

Aside from an annual haircut, there are no special requirements, even in your growing zone. Enjoy your garden!

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