Heath Pearlwort, Scottish or Scotch Moss 'Aurea'

Sagina subulata

Family: Caryophyllaceae (kar-ree-oh-fil-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sagina (sa-JI-nuh) (Info)
Species: subulata (sub-yoo-LAH-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Aurea
View this plant in a garden


Alpines and Rock Gardens



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Ferment seeds before storing

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Happy Jack, Arizona

Clovis, California

Hayward, California

San Diego, California

San Jose, California

Clifton, Colorado

Decatur, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Cherry Valley, Illinois

Machesney Park, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Winnetka, Illinois

Ellicott City, Maryland

Gaithersburg, Maryland

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Novi, Michigan

Isle, Minnesota

Saint Louis, Missouri

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

South Beach, Oregon

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Dallas, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Lexington, Virginia

Newport News, Virginia

Elma, Washington

Kirkland, Washington

Spokane, Washington (2 reports)

Madison, Wisconsin

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 25, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The species grows as a weed in many of the gardens I maintain. It usually dies out in spots when gardeners try to grow it as a groundcover here (Boston Z6a). In my climate it doesn't form an even groundcover, and tends to be short-lived.

It's a staple of coffee-table garden books, especially in checkerboard patterns with the species. But the reality is that such fussy schemes fall apart not long after the photographer leaves. The yellow form self-sows, but the seedlings don't inherit the golden foliage.


On Jul 7, 2015, dutchrub from Pittsburgh,
United States wrote:

I grow in Zone 6 in heavy clay soils (amended as necessary) in a city prone to lots of rain and very infrequent drought. This year, the first year of planting, we have had rain nearly every weekday for several weeks solid. I bought Scotch moss in combination with Irish moss with the intent of planting along the problem areas of my retaining wall in my backyard. I have an oddly shaped, triangular backyard with a large covered patio, which overhangs my retaining wall in parts, leading to a few areas of complete to mostly shade.

I had originally planted creeping phlox in those parts, but it all starved without enough sunlight. I was in need of a creeping groundcover that would soften my wall's edges and grow low enough to not overshadow the tiered plants behind it, but it als... read more


On Jun 6, 2012, john_hosie from Gaithersburg, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:

OK. Both Scottish Moss and its kissing cousin, Irish Moss look neat in the pot. There is no doubt that, in the right environment it looks fantastic. The problems I've had with it are related to getting it to survive. It doesn't do well in lots of sunshine. As others have said, it does great in areas with more shade. This is the usual thing for real moss, so I am not surprised. But the thing that is a real problem with it is its roots. They weave around eachother, forming a dense mat. Not bad in the ground, but I was trying to use it in bonsai pots. The roots so dominate the pot that they choke out everything else. In a bonsai pot, where there really isn't a lot of space for roots to start with, this smothers the trees and kills them. Happened with about a dozen Japanese Maples this winter... read more


On Jul 10, 2010, aksmith from Hayward, CA wrote:

Underplanted this around rose bushes, looks very pretty with fallen petals on it. Creeps quite rapidly especially with frequent (every other day) watering.

Here in northern California, it doesn't seem to like all-day sun. It does well in the area I planted which gets afternoon shade, but not further down the path where it gets 8 hours of summer sun a day.


On Feb 7, 2007, Bellisgirl from Spokane, WA wrote:

Ive had this plant for about four years. Definantly brightens up any spot; love it! Mine is in partial shade and can handle a fair amound of drought. It forms a dense carpet of gorgeous neon-golden foliage. Is a slow-creeper. Has tiny white flowers in the spring. Ive found many slugs hinding out in it, but they dont seem to be actually eating it. By the way, it helps to make sure that there are absolutely no weeds growing in the spot before you plant it; its very difficult to pull them out from the groundcover.


On Apr 4, 2006, Ally_UT from Central, UT (Zone 5b) wrote:

This plant needs more shade here in Utah and regular irrigation to do well. The chartreuse color is lovely in the partly shaded areas of the garden and glows against the Black mondo grass, Daphne and Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku' that it is planted near. It handles our alkaline soil and city water quite well.


On Sep 6, 2005, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:

See the species' entry.
Also takes alkaline soil (pH 8+) and amended clay as well. Very dividable for ground-covering. Stands out better than the species and works well for brighter-color landscapes.
Try growing it around some red things or black things (Cannas, Ophiopogon or black viola) and contrasting bulbs (Scilla, small Frittilaria or best: Saffron) to make your individual flowers appear prettier than they really are! Same goes for that favorite rock that you picked up on a hike, which everyone else thinks is some sort of construction debris in your garden.


On Aug 24, 2003, City_Sylvia from Dallas, TX wrote:

My Scotch Moss has small chartreuse flowers in early spring. It can handle a lot of sun, dries up if left without water, but returns in early spring. It transplants easily and the clumps spread quickly.


On May 5, 2002, naturepatch from Morris, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I purchased it for a groundcover in a fairy garden with miniature roses. Forms a neat, soft carpet of chartreuse green. No particular problems.