Phlox subulata, otherwise known as Moss Phlox, Moss Pink, Creeping Phlox and Mountain Phlox is a slow growing perennial native to North America.
It was also known in years gone by as thrift.
It only grows to 6" high, but each plant spreads out to cover an area 20" wide, making it ideal for ground cover.
The flowers are blue, pink, purple or white, depending on variety and Moss Phlox can grow on a wide range of soil types.
It grows rapidly in Spring, Summer and Fall, but does not tolerate drought too well.
Phlox subulata likes full sun, and thrives happily on rockeries, bordering pathways or even in the cracks of walls. It can tolerate partial shade.
No part of the plant is poisonous, making it excellent for ground cover where there are animals, and propagation is by cuttings of spring taken in fall or spring.
Moss phlox is a very easy and attractive plant to grow. All it requires is normal rainfall, extra water during drought periods, and the occasional dose of a slow release fertilizer.
Grow Moss phlox in USDA zones 3 - 9, and you will be rewarded with a beautiful blanket of flowers every spring that will last for about 4 weeks.
The flowers are large and have five petals, and bloom in groups of 3 to 5 giving a wide covering.
They are evergreen, and so bring a splash of color to your winter garden. as well as keeping weeds at bay.
Moss phlox needs very little care.
After flowering, cut the whole plant back by half its height. This will encourage fresh new vegetation to grow. Sometimes it even encourages another showy display of flowers.
Avoid cutting it back in the fall when winter frost could damage the plant that has been left exposed.
Phlox subulata can be grown from seed, or as little plants from the nursery.
Either the seed or the plants can be planted spring or fall. If you buy plants, set them out 10" apart to allow them room to spread.
two news stories where police mistook moss phlox for cannabis
- BBC News
Police apologise to an elderly couple after raiding their Bristol home believing it to be a cannabis factory.
- Mail Online
Chris Vincent, 58 was stunned when officers turned up at his home in a leafy Warwickshire village demanding access to their back garden, as the dog mistook moss for a drug.
A word of warning:
An English couple were raided by the police early one morning.
Police suspected they were growing cannabis, and indeed the sniffer dog brought along for the raid seemed to verify the presence of an illegal plant.
The police themselves could smell the pungent odor of cannabis, and demanded to see the householder's garden.
He happily showed them, and the culprit turned out to be his wife's prized Moss Phlox which she had been growing in the garden.
They later advised the householder get rid of the plants, as the scent was too similar.
Phlox subulata carpeting a landscape
IzzyM (author) from UK on December 27, 2011:
I haven't smelt it, but there have been 2 cases now in the UK of people mistaking the smell!
Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on December 27, 2011:
Great hub for gardeners. It's funny Phlox smells like cannabis