Virtues: Compact, tufted shape; grassy texture; late spring/early summer bloom. Highly drought tolerant. Accepts poor soil and seaside locations. Good choice for the rock garden, in a wall planting or vertical garden, as a low edger at the front of a dry border and for seaside gardens.
Common name: Sea thrift, thrift, sea pinks
Botanical name: Armeria maritima
Foliage: Grasslike leaves in a tight, rounded clump. The culitvar A. m. ‘Rubrifolia’ acquires a reddish cast to the leaves in fall.
Flowers: Tight balls of tiny rosy pink to white flowers are held atop 6- to 10-inch-tall stems in late spring and early summer.
Habit: Mounding perennial to 4 inches tall and 8 inches wide.
Season: Spring and summer for flowers; foliage looks tidy and appealing in other seasons.
Origin: Coastal cliffs and beaches of the US West Coast, Alaska and throughout Canada; coastal and marshy areas of Europe and northern Asia.
Cultivation: Grow in light, average to poor soil with excellent drainage. Prefers full sun. Do not fertilize. Moist, fertile or heavy soil will cause sea thrift to rot from its center. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage more bloom. USDA Zones 4 through 8.
Image attribution: Hugo.arg
Do you garden by the sea? Check out Coastal Gardening.
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