Written by Tolly Beck
Tolly Beck is the horticulturist at Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Westchester County. She was formerly a horticulture educator for New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland, NY.
What’s in Bloom at Lasdon
Kousa Dogwood Cornus kousa
Lilacs Syringa spp.
Red Buckeye Aesculus pavia
Viburnum Viburnum spp.
Japanese Snowbell Styrax japonica
Sweet Shrub Calycanthus florida
White Fringe tree Chionanthus virginicus
Columbine Aquilegia spp.
Foam Flower Tiarella cordifolia
Cranesbill Geranium sanguinium
Heart-leaf Bergenia Bergenia cordifolia
Garden Peony Paeonia spp.
Bearded Iris Iris hybrids
Siberian Iris Iris sibirica
Threadleaf Blue Star Amsonia hubrichtii
Yellow Corydalis Pseudofumaria lutea
Native creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) is a delightful, spring blooming groundcover. The foliage of creeping phlox is needle-like in appearance, but soft to the touch. Blue, pink, lavender or white five petaled flowers cover the plant from spring to early summer. The groundcover stays at about 6” in height making it perfect for perennial borders, rock gardens, retaining walls and slopes.
Creeping phlox prefers to be planted in a well-drained soil in a sunny to partly shaded location. It is drought and heat tolerant as well as deer resistant. As with all drought tolerant perennials, water it the first year after planting until it has developed an adequate root system.
After flowers have faded in early summer, prune it lightly to encourage young foliage. This may even stimulate some more flowering. Creeping phlox is evergreen providing it has a protective snow cover in winter. If the winter is open with little snow, a quick trim in spring will initiate new foliage growth. It is hardy to zone 3.
Blooming in spring, creeping phlox provides an excellent source of early nectar for swallowtail butterflies and hummingbirds. What a beautiful welcome mat. The Shop at Lasdon has creeping phlox for sale while supplies last, if you would like to see this plant on your next visit to Lasdon.