Rock gardens and stone walls are often amassed with the vibrant colors of phlox in early spring. Moss phlox (P. Subulata) or moss pink, is a favorite ground cover of many gardeners.

A Native American perennial, this blooming plant produces an array of vivid colors including pink, lavender, rose, and white blossoms. It grows to a height of 6", and thrives in well drained soil in sunny locations. A variation of moss phlox is creeping phlox (P. stolonifera) which prefers partial shade and spreads quickly as a ground cover.

Moss phlox is hardy in zones 3-8, and provides a mass of green foliage throughout the growing season. It can be divided anytime after the blooms fade, and can be trimmed back throughout the growing season or in the fall to encourage more blooms and denser foliage.

Plants can be obtained from local nurseries, or existing plants can be divided into clumps after the blooms have faded. Phlox may also be sown from seed directly in the soil in fall or early spring, or started by taking cuttings of the tips of the foliage from existing plants.

Planting and caring for moss phlox

Prepare the area by digging up the soil to 6" deep. Mix in compost and peat moss to loosen the soil, if needed. Set plants into the prepared bed spacing them 10" apart. Water well until established.

Fertilize with natural fertilizer, such as Flowers Alive for Perennials. Moss phlox prefers lightly alkaline or neutral soils and can tolerate slightly acidic pH.

Trim foliage periodically to encourage new growth. Divide established plants as desired, or allow to naturalize for a brush stroke of vibrant blooming color.