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Garden Guide: Phlox

Exploring the Spectrum: Testing Varieties of Creeping Phlox for Your Spring Garden

In the world of gardening, few flowers offer the sheer resilience and beauty of phlox. These blooms grace any garden in the early weeks of Spring with their captivating, vibrant colors. However, with countless cultivars available, choosing the right phlox for your garden and climate can be a daunting task. In this article, we delve into the realm of phlox varieties that we have tested here at Arborcrest Gardens, a 26-acre garden nestled in the heart of Boone, North Carolina. We explore their characteristics and offer insights to help you select the perfect blooms for your outdoor haven.


Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata and cvs., Zones 3–9) makes an ideal ground cover carpeting the ground with a profusion of blooms in spring. Varieties like 'Pink Sparkles' and 'Violet Pinwheels' offer hues ranging from soft pinks to vibrant blues, adding a splash of color to rock gardens and slopes. As plants spread, they create a massive cluster of color, almost completely concealing any sign of leaves beneath. 


But it is not just the visual appeal of phlox that makes it a star in the garden; it is also their intoxicating fragrance that sets them apart. As the sun warms the blooms, a sweet scent perfumes the air, attracting pollinators and beckoning passersby to linger a little longer. 

As if they couldn’t get any better; the resilience of phlox in early spring is truly remarkable. Despite facing the unpredictable whims of Mother Nature, phlox remains steadfast. Arrays of dainty blooms seem to not even notice a late frost. 

Tested Varieties We Love: 


Phlox subulata ‘Pink Sparkles’ offers a dynamic beauty in the landscape. In the early days of April in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, ‘Pink Sparkles’ blossoms unveil in a vibrant hue of delicate pink. However, as the days pass and the flowers mature, a remarkable transformation occurs. Initially, the petals may deepen in color, intensifying their vibrancy and adding layers of richness to the floral display. Yet, as time elapses, subtle shifts begin to manifest. The once vivid hues gradually soften, giving way to ethereal pastel tones creating a spectrum of pink. 

Phlox subulata ‘Spring Hot Pink’ - Adorned in deep magenta, this gem is sure to command attention. A subtle fragrance lingers in the air, adding to the enchantment. Whether solitary or massed, this deep pink phlox leaves an impression—a true treasure in the garden sure to be seen from a distance. 

Phlox ‘Violet Pinwheels’ - A vibrant, violet variety, this deep purple creeping phlox makes a charming addition to any garden. It offers a stunning spring display of rich color and graceful trailing foliage. Its deep purple blooms stand out against the green backdrop, adding an elegant touch to the landscape. Combined with Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina,’ the deep purple hues of phlox create a striking contrast to the vibrant yellow/orange clusters of stonecrop. The rich, velvety blooms of ‘Violet Pinwheels’ intermingle with the cheerful clusters of sedum, resulting in a dynamic display of color and texture.

Phlox subulata ‘Betty’ - This miniature variety of creeping phlox is a charming addition to any garden, forming a lush carpet of small, pastel purple blooms that cascade over slopes and borders. Despite its petite size, this resilient plant thrives in various conditions, spreading eagerly to suppress weeds and erosion while adding vibrant color and texture to the landscape. Perfect for ground cover, it requires minimal maintenance and offers maximum impact.

Phlox subulata ‘Eye Candy’ 

Phlox subulata ‘Rocky Road Periwinkle’ -

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