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Phlox subulata (Creeping phlox)
Smith, R.W.

Phlox subulata

Phlox subulata L.

Creeping Phlox, Moss Phlox, Moss Pink, Rock Pink

Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)


USDA Symbol: PHSU3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (NI)

A perennial forming evergreen mats of needle-like foliage, covered by masses of flowers in various shades of pink, purple or (rarely) white. Flowers in clusters at stem ends, collectively forming a continuous carpet of flowers.

Various color forms of this species are cultivated, especially in rock gardens. Those growing wild in New England have escaped from cultivation. Trailing Phlox (P. nivalis), found in sandy pine or oak barrens from Virginia south to Florida and west to Texas, has unnotched petals. Sand Phlox (P. bifida) occurs in sandy habitats in the Midwest and has petals with notches at least 1/8 of an inch (3 mm) deep.


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 8 inches tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AR , CT , DE , IA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , TN , UT , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: Long Island to KY, s. to mts. of NC & AR; sometimes escaping as far n. as ME
Native Habitat: Rocky ledges, slopes & clearings

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Dry, sandy or rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Even in the poorest of soils, this plant spreads quickly. Good for erosion control on bare or freshly disturbed slopes. Phlox nivalis and Phlox bifida are similar but usually not as colorful as P. subulata.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Propagate by division or cuttings taken after blooming.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Groundcover for sunny yard in New Jersey
July 23, 2008
Hi. I'm looking for ground cover for a mostly sunny section of my yard. The ground we are looking to cover is next to a slight hill with in a few feet of an in ground pool. I would like something tha...
view the full question and answer

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Phlox subulata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Phlox subulata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Phlox subulata


Record Modified: 2023-02-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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