Phlox subulata or “Thrift” is one of the first perennials to bloom in late winter.
I love the plucky little plant with its bright magenta flowers. Anything that blooms this time of year, regardless of inclement and cold winter weather, is the plant for me. Thrift is a native phlox. You see it everywhere in the southeastern states.
I first met the little plant in Georgia where I fell in love with it. You would see great areas covered with the bright pink flowers. They also came in white and blue, but the gaudy magenta is the hardiest and the most prevalent. We had it all down our driveway in Alabama and it took our breath away every spring. The rest of the year it provided an evergreen groundcover. All this for no care! We have to water it more here because we do not have the summer rains that are plentiful in the Southeast.
Thrift, like all the phlox family, is easy to please. Give it good soil, lots of sun and plenty of water in summer when it is dry, and it will reward you with a beautiful spring show. Blooming in late February through March, it gives much needed color before the great spring flower show begins.
Plant thrift interspersed with small daffodils. Plant it under a dogwood that is tall enough to allow lots of sunlight underneath. Plant it for a groundcover all year or just do as I do and plant it because you love it.