Phlox subulata in an ornamental planting beneath a cherry tree at Yachounomori Garden in Annaka, Gunma

Phlox subulata the creeping phlox, moss phlox,[1] moss pink or mountain phlox, is a species of flowering plant in the family Polemoniaceae, native to eastern and central USA, and widely cultivated.

The odor given off by the plants may be mistaken for that of marijuana.[2]


Growing to about 13 cm (5 in) high at most and covering a 50 cm (20 in) wide area, it is an evergreen perennial forming mats or cushions of hairy, linear leaves. The small, five-petaled flowers bloom in rose, mauve, blue, white, or pink in late spring to early summer.[3] Its habitats include rocky ledges, slopes and clearings.[4]


The Latin specific epithet subulata means awl- or needle-shaped[5] which refers to its leaves.[6]


The plant is cultivated as a front-of-border or groundcover plant. Requiring full sun and well-drained soil, it is very hardy, tolerating temperatures down to −20 °C (−4 °F), and is suitable for hardiness zones USDA 3 to 9. It grows in sandy or gravely soil.[6]


The following cultivars have received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:[7]

  • 'Kelly's Eye'[8] (pink)
  • 'McDaniel's Cushion'[9] (deep pink)
  • 'Red Wings'[10] (carmine red)

See also

Phlox stolonifera


  1. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  2. ^ "Police sorry for drug raid mix-up". BBC News. BBC. 6 December 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  3. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  4. ^ "Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin". Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  5. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315.
  6. ^ a b "Phlox subulata - Plant Finder". Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  7. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 78. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Phlox 'Kelly's Eye'". RHS. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  9. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Phlox subulata 'McDaniel's Cushion'". Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Phlox subulata 'Red Winga'". RHS. Retrieved 5 March 2021.

External links

Media related to Phlox subulata at Wikimedia Commons