Creeping phlox (Phlox spp.) provide drifts of low-growing green foliage throughout the growing season, and colorful flowers in the spring and/or fall. The common name "creeping phlox" may refer to three different phlox species, all with a range of flower color variations.
A favorite in rock gardens, moss phlox (Phlox subulata) is a perennial hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. It grows 3 to 6 inches tall, and spreads 24 inches. Moss phlox blooms mid-spring through early summer, typically in shades of purple, pink and white. It flowers best in full sun, with dappled shade during the afternoon to keep the plants from getting too hot. Rich, well-drained soil with medium moisture is best. There is a wide range of available cultivars.
- 'Appleblossom' has light pink flowers with a dark pink center. It reblooms in the fall.
- 'Candy Stripe' features light pink blooms with a white stripe on the edges of each petal.
- 'Emerald Cushion Blue' has pale lavender-blue flowers.
- 'Herbert' is a miniature variety with lavender-pink flowers.
- 'Millstream' features white flowers with a crimson center.
- 'Scarlet Flame' has dark pink, almost red, flowers.
- 'White Delight' has large white flowers with tiny yellow centers.
True creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera) is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9. It forms a mat of foliage 3 inches tall and can spread indefinitely, which makes it useful in areas you want to naturalize. The flowers, typically in shades of pink or purple, form on 8-inch stalks midsummer through early fall. Creeping phlox grows best in full sun or partial shade. The plants prefer medium moisture and rich, well-drained soil. Several cultivars are available.
- 'Blue Ridge' has lilac-blue flowers.
- 'Bruce's White' flowers are white with a yellow center.
- 'Home Fires' has bright pink blooms.
- 'Pink Ridge' also has pink flowers, but blooms later than 'Home Fires'
- 'Sherwood Purple' features fragrant purple-blue flowers.
Another creeping phlox, sand phlox (Phlox bifida) is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8. It is a slow-growing plant that reaches 6 inches tall and up to 12 inches wide. Sand phlox blooms mid to late spring and typically has lavender or white flowers. It is drought-tolerant and requires well-drained soil. Full sun is required for good flowering, though plants will tolerate light shade. There are few cultivars available for this variety.
- 'Alba' features white flowers.
- 'Betty Blake' has dark lavender-blue blooms.
- 'Starbright' flowers are lavender-blue with deeply cut petals.
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