Sea thrift armeria maritima

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Buying Alpines from Jacksons Nurseries

At Jacksons Nurseries we lightly trim back our alpines after flowering to ensure that the plants remain neat and tidy whilst in the pot. The more tender the plant the less we cut back to help protect exposed stems from winter frost. Depending on the plant variety we will then prune back further in spring once the risk of the more severe frosts is over.

As a result, depending on the time of year you buy alpines, they may not look like images showing their ‘prime time’ in flower and looking at their best.

Availability: Stock availability figures are provided as a guide only. There is a delay between orders being placed and the plants being gathered by our pulling team. During this time it may be possible for a member of the public to purchase these plants from our Garden Centre, while this is rare it is a possibility and we will notify you of any problems as soon as possible. This figure may also include plants that have not yet be flagged as unsaleable.

Pre-order: Pre-order times are given as a guide only and may vary dependent on the growing season. Orders containing Pre-ordered products will be shipped as a single order when all items become available. Large orders may be part shipped, please contact us on 01782 502741 or email [email protected]

From late autumn onwards and dependant on variety, there may be very little visible above the soil except for a few cut back dormant leaves or stems. It is perfectly normal for dormant plants to look like this from autumn onwards, they will however burst back into life in spring.

Plant Description

Available in shades of white, pink. red, coral, lavender and deep purple, phlox adds brilliant color to cottage gardens and urban landscapes. The flowers of phlox have five petals. Phlox foliage is deep green, fine-textured and needle-like. Leaves may turn yelow during the heat of summer. A member of the plant family Polemoniaceae, easy care, low-maintenance phlox, multiplies readily and produces an abundance of fragrant, star-shaped flowers that attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies to the home garden. Moss phlox, also known as creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) is a low-growing variety that is used in alpine rock gardens and to edge garden paths and flower beds. There are many different hybrids of phlox, both annual and perennial.

Phlox stolonifera is another creeping phlox that loves shade. This variety adds bright pink or red color to rock gardens and is useful for planting under trees and shrubs. A herbaceous, annual plant, Sternenzauber (Phlox drummondii), exhibits colorful flowers that are fringed and pointed. Native to Texas, phlox drummondii produces a multiple of forms and colors with plants that grow from 6- to- 18 inches tall.

Thrift is an evergreen perennial with a mounding habit. Thift, also known as rock rose, sea pink and our ladie’s cushion, forms low-growing clumps of deep green foliage with deep-pink flowers that grow on 8- to- 10 inch stems.

A dense, herbacious perennial, juniper-leaved sea thrift (Armeria juniperifolia) grows only 2 inches tall with 4 inch tall flower stems. The leaves are needle-like and a dusty, greenish-gray. Also known as Spanish thrift, juniper-leaved sea thrift displays hot pink flowers. Unlike phlox, thrift plants stay green year-round.

Sea thrift and creeping thyme in lava fields of Snæfellsjökull National Park, Iceland.

Sea thrift, Armeria maritima, is an herbaceous perennial in the sealavender family (Plumbaginaceae) native to mountains and temperate coastal areas of the northern hemisphere, especially northern Europe, from northern California to Iceland to Siberia. There are several geographic subspecies that vary mainly in flower morphology and pollen structure. It is often found in salty coastal environments where few other plants can grow well. Also called common thrift or sea pink, it is hardy in zones 4 to 8.

The linear leaves grow in a basal rosette.

This compact evergreen plant grows only 6 to 12 inches high and across from a woody tap root. The slowly expanding mounded tuft is composed of numerous stiff, linear (needle-shaped), dark-green leaves that usually have hairs along their margins. This dense rosette gives the appearance of a low-growing ornamental grass. In richer soils the leaves tend to fall outwards leaving an open center. Since it is evergreen, it should not be cut back to the ground in fall like many other perennials as that will affect spring bloom.

In mid-spring small pink to lavender (or sometimes white) flowers are produced in globular clusters subtended by purplish, papery bracts on the ends of slender, unbranched, leafless stalks that extend well above the foliage. Each flower has five petals joined at the base with five stamens and five separate styles. Deadhead entire flower stems to promote additional sporadic flowering throughout the summer. They can be used as cut flowers. The flowers are followed by papery seed heads with a single seed in each capsule.

Flowers are produced in clusters from buds held well above the foliage (L and LC). Each flower has white to pink petals (RC) and are followed by papery seed heads (R).

Sea thrift grows best in full sun in lean, very well-drained soil. The plants are drought tolerant and do not tolerate moist soils. They frequently rot in the center, killing the entire plant, in heavy clay, soils that are too fertile, or after a prolonged wet and cool fall. Because of this they have a reputation for being short-lived. However, given the proper environment these plants can live for many years and require little maintenance.

Partial dieback (L) and central rot that killed the tap root (R).

Armeria maritima ‘Victor Reiter’ in a rock garden.

Use sea thrift in rock gardens, for edging the front of a perennial border, or massed together in dry, gravelly to sandy beds. Its dense, mounded shape offers good textural contrast with other low-growing plants even when not in bloom (but place it where it will not be overgrown by taller, spreading perennials). It can be used in mixed containers with other small plants. It is excellent in trough gardens which provide the perfect drainage it requires to do well and it is unlikely to be overrun by other larger plants.

Sea thrift is fairly easily propagated from seed, generally flowering in the second year. Sow seeds in spring or fall. It can also be propagated vegetatively by division in spring or basal cuttings taken in summer.

Often plants offered are just the species, but several cultivars are available including:

  • ‘Alba’ – is smaller than the species (grows about 5 inches high and wide) with white flowers.
  • Armada™ Rose – has bright rose pink flowers on 6-8 inch high plants. There is also a white cultivar in this series.
  • ‘Bloodstone’ – has bright deep pink, almost red, flowers.
  • ‘Cotton Tail’ – is a short cultivar (6 inches high) with white flowers.
  • ‘Dusseldorf Pride’ – has deep pink to wine red flowers on plants 4-5 inches tall and usually repeat flowers in the fall.
  • ‘Laucheana’ – has darker green foliage and bright pink flowers that rebloom intermittently.
  • ‘Nifty Thrifty’ – this British selection has variegated foliage (a white stripe down the edge of each leaf).
  • ‘Rubifolia’ – has magenta-pink flowers and dark burgundy foliage in a mound 4 inches high and 6 inches across. The leaves become greener during the heat of summer.
  • ‘Splendens’ – has deep pink flowers.
  • ‘Vindictive’ – is a lower-growing form that is recommended as a ground-cover.

– Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin – Madison


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Sea Thrift Plant: Tips On How To Grow Thrift Plant In The Garden

Sea pink, also known as sea thrift plant, thrift plant and common thrift (Armeria maritima), is a low-growing perennial evergreen that is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8. Growing sea pinks and how to take care of thrift plants is easy.

Sea Thrift Plant Info

This slow grower produces beautiful sea pink flowers that are bright pink, red, violet or white. These round flowers appear in clusters on top of wiry and erect stems. This dainty little plant, native to central and southern Europe, blooms from late spring to early summer.

Over 80 species of sea pink exist and the plant has been known to be used medicinally to treat epilepsy and obesity, and is used as a sedative. Some cultivars, that have longer stems, also make lovely additions to fresh or dried bouquets.

How to Grow Thrift Plant in the Garden

Sea pink flowers prefer well-drained soil in full sun in northern climates and part-sun in the South.

The best type of soil for this plant is sandy and it does not need to be overly fertile. Soil that is too wet or fertile may cause the plant to rot.

This plant is also very salt tolerant and commonly grows by the ocean shore. The mounding habit of this pretty plant lends itself well to rock gardens or flower bed edges. It is also a nice addition to any perennial bed or container garden.

Sow seeds in the fall or divide mature plants in early fall or spring.

How to Take Care of Thrift Plants

Growing sea pinks is not difficult as long as gardeners’ deadhead spent blooms frequently. This plant is deer resistant and non invasive, which makes it an easy keeper in the home garden. Once established, the sea thrift plant requires little watering.

To get the most optimal results in how to take care of thrift plants, they should not be planted in areas with a great deal of foot traffic.

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