Phlox, Creeping


Phlox subulata: (creeping phlox)  Part to full sun Hardy in zones 3 - 9,  Creeping phlox is a short groundcover perennial that is widely used in rock gardens, on slopes, along paths and spilling over garden walls.  It grows and spreads slowly, forming a dense mat.  Mature size is usually about 6” tall and 2 feet wide.  Like tall garden phlox, it prefers moist well drained soil that is slightly alkaline.  They both will tolerate poorer and dry soils as well as slightly acidic conditions.  Each spring after flowering, the plants should be sheared back about one third to one half to renew vigor and to reduce the large top growth that a shallow root system is trying to support.  Phlox subulata is evergreen, however in zones 3 and 4 it should be covered (evergreen boughs or reliable snow cover).  A show stopping carpet of color is produces in late April or early May.  To help extend bloom time, fertilize in early spring just after the plant tips begin to emerge from the soil.  Sprinkle a granular timed release 9-12-12 fertilizer into the soil and mulch over.  After two to three weeks of blooming fertilize again, but do not sprinkle directly onto the plants or you may burn them.  Pull/rake back the mulch and sprinkle into the soil, then replace the mulch.  Water well.


‘Candy Stripe’ is a newer variety with fuscia pink blooms banded white.  ‘Candy Stripe’ grows vigorously and the delicate foliage is attractive when not in bloom.  Prefers full sun but will do all right in partial sun.  Soil should be rich, dry and well drained, can tolerate drought.  ‘Candy Stripe’ phlox can reach up to 1 foot in height but generally will be 6 - 8” high, and will spread 12 - 15”.  May attract bees and butterfiles.  Hardy in zones 3 - 8.  In zone 3, plants should be mulched for winter protection after the soil freezes.


‘Emerald Blue’ (also known as ‘Blue Emerald’) is a hard to find “true blue” in any perennial, or annual for that matter.  The rich emerald blue is a great addition to a blue and white garden, or any rock garden, hillside, etc.  Looks fabulous when grown with ‘Candy Stripe’.  Foliage is glossy dark green with a compact growth habit, and grows more slowly than many creeping phlox.  ‘Emerald Blue’ generally reaches 4 - 6” high and spreads to around 18” or more.  The bloom period begins in early spring and may last into early summer.  Shear back dead foliage after blooming to refresh the plant and encourage denser growth and possible rebloom.  Grow in full sun, but will tolerate part sun.  Hardy in zones 3 - 8.


‘Emerald Cushion Blue’ is a lavender blue with blue eyes.  Blooming begins in late spring and continues through late spring.  The bloom period may be extended into June by deadheading spent blooms and withered foliage.  Deep green, needle like foliage forms a dense evergreen mat.  ‘Emerald Cushion Blue’ grows about 4 - 6” high and spreads to 18 - 24”.  Prefers full sun and fertile, well drained soil.  Hardy in zones 3 - 8.

PerennialsSharon Dwyer