Perennial of the Week: Phlox subulata – ‘Mountain Pinks’
Botanist John Bartram is credited with bringing Phlox subulata (commonly known as Creeping Phlox, Mountain Pink, and Moss Phlox) from its native environment to cultivated gardens in 1745. This low-growing, spreading plant thrives in the eastern and central United States, and tends to enjoy slopes, open woodlands, and dry, rocky, or sandy locations.
P. subulata blooms enthusiastically in early spring (March through May) in a variety of eye-catching shades. The five-petaled blooms can be reddish-purple, violet, lavender-blue, hot pink, pale pink, and white. Some flowers feature an “eye” – a center that is lighter or darker than the petals.
The name Phlox is Greek for flame, which is an apt description of this flower’s warmer shades. Subulata is Latin for “awl,” a reference to the plant’s needle-like foliage. The plant is considered “evergreen,” since it retains some of its color all year.
P. subulata tends to stay approximately 6 inches from the ground. It makes an excellent ground cover, and blends well with spring-blooming bulbs that flower during the same time.
Since its introduction to the general public, P. subulata took off in popularity, and became a familiar garden choice over the next century. It remains an excellent choice for various situations.
P. subulata brightens:
• Cracks in patios, walls, and walks
• Steep, dry banks
• Spaces receiving sufficient sunlight under tree canopies
• Rock gardens
• Garden borders
• Crevices in non-mortared walls
Welcome P. subulata into your garden, and watch it handle every tight spot with aplomb.