Pretty Trailers for Your Bed Borders

If you’re looking for a way to cheer the arrival of spring, these are plants that can help you do that. They’ll be coming into bloom across Texas in the next couple of weeks. Watch for them in a nursery near you.

Pink flowers are creeping phlox, also known as “thrift.” The lavender flowers are Louisiana phlox.

“Hot, hot pink.” That’s the best way to describe this flat little creeping phlox. It does best in full sun, growing to 4 inches tall and 18 or 24 inches across. It covers its foliage with mats of little pink pinwheels (white form also available), and it keeps blooming for several weeks (longer than many perennials).

The only downside with the creeping phlox is that its leaves are a little bit prickly. They don’t have thorns or spines, but they’re sharply pointed. As a result, take extra care to eliminate bermudagrass before you plant thrift.

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Louisiana phlox…
If your color scheme drifts more toward lavenders in spring, perennial Louisiana phlox is equally handsome.

As with thrift, it’s great spilling over retailing walls. That’s probably a more practical use than filling an entire bed with them. A bed like that would be beautiful for a few weeks each spring, but unattractive and difficult to keep free of weeds the rest of the year.

There is a purity to this little beauty. Crisp, clean white flower clusters are somewhat similar to those of sweet alyssum. It stays in bloom for several weeks each February and March, and it will produce sporadic blooms through the rest of the season as well.

Candytuft tucks into small garden niches with grace. Use it to spill out of a stack of rocks in the garden. Plant it where it can cascade over red sandstone retaining walls for a nice contrast of colors. It grows to 4 or 5 inches tall while it’s blooming.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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