Red Wings

'Red Wings' Moss Phlox

"A moonlit path, hemmed in by beds of bloom,
Where phlox & marigolds dispute for room."

-Amy Lowell


Phlox subulata is variously called Moss Phlox, Creeping Phlox, Ground Pinks, Flowering Moss, Moss Pinks, or Dwarf Phlox. The cultivar 'Red wings' has bright little rose-red flowers with magenta eyes covering its low-growing needle-like foliage in spring. 'Red Wings' begins flowering a little sooner than most moss phloxes, at latest by mid-April, but really takes off in May.

When it finishes flowering in June, the foliage should be slightly sheered & the spent flowers removed. This will keep the clump compact rather than leggy, & will induce summer rebloom.

As moss phloxes like soil that is neutral to slightly alkaline, a spot-fertilizing with lime can be helpful in our naturally acidic soils. But in full sun & well-draining soil it may do fine in any soil, so amendment shouldn't be resorted to unless the clump is not performing well.

Somewhat drought-hardy, it will flower & look its best if droughtiness is not too greatly tested. It does not do at all well in shade or soil that drains poorly, but it stands up well to winds & maritime salty atmosphere.

In conditions even close to its preferences it is hardy & vigorous. Their root system is sufficient that it can be used for erosion control on slopes, but not too aggressive to live easily with larger plants, & it permits spring bulbs to rise up through its low foliage.

It can clump up to a foot or so height but is more apt to remain in the six to eight inch range of height, especially with periodic sheering. It'll spread a foot or more, & can cascade over ledges or out of containers.

See also:
Phlox subulata 'Candy Stripe'


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