This delightful hybrid phlox breaks new ground in the spring-blooming cushion or moss phlox genre. The notched, upturned petals truly look like they could take flight with a good breeze, hence the "violet pinwheels" cultivar name. The ¾-inch-wide flowers open a vivid purple color and age to a still-vivid violet color—rare colors among the moss Phlox. We have observed five weeks of bloom commencing as early as late March and extending into mid-May, spring temperatures depending, in northern Illinois (USDA Zone 5). The plants consist of low, slowly spreading mounds of dark green, needlelike foliage that is soft to the touch. Three-year-old plants have grown to 18 inches wide by 4 inches tall and have been evergreen year-round.
This plant is a perfect marriage of eastern and western phlox, combining unique beauty with adaptability to heat, cold, alkaline and possibly saline soils. It is best grown in full sun on well-drained soils with some supplemental water during drought. Grow this vibrant selection in the rock garden, on slopes, over a wall or berm, or at the front of the sunny border. 'Purple Pinwheels' is readily propagated by shoot tip cuttings taken from new growth in spring or autumn.
This plant was developed by Dr. Jim Ault at Chicago Botanic Garden from a cross made in 2008 between an eastern Phlox species and a western Phlox species.
If you are interested in becoming a licensed propagator and grower of this selection, contact the program manager at .