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Phlox diffusa (Spreading phlox)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Phlox diffusa

Phlox diffusa Benth.

Spreading Phlox, Mat Phlox

Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)


USDA Symbol: phdi3

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

The low, circular woody mats of this phlox sprawl widely and are densely covered by yellow-green, narrow, needle-like, but not spiny, leaves. In flower, this is quite showy with blossoms of white to lavender to purple to pink. The blossoms are small but can be so numerous at times as to completely hide the leaves.

There are four subspecies of this phlox occupying different parts of its range.


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 6 inches tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

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


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NE , NM , NV , OR , SD , UT , WA , WY
Native Distribution: CA & w. NV mts., n. to s. B.C. & n.w. MT
Native Habitat: Dry, rocky mt. sites

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soil.
Conditions Comments: Var. longistylis occurs in the northern part of the stated range; var. diffusa to the south. A good choice for stabilizing soil.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Sow stratified seed.
Seed Treatment: Stratify.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-22
Research By: TWC Staff

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