Armeria maritima is a pretty-looking and easy-going species of flowering plants in the Plumbaginaceae family. In cultivation, this one-of-a-kind flower goes by various common names including Sea thrift, Cushion pink, Marsh daisy, Cliffrose, Thrift, Sea pink, and Lady’s pincushion. It has a wide distribution along the northern hemisphere in various regions of Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Due to its irresistible nature, Sea thrift has become a pretty popular ornamental plant worldwide. This clump-forming species produces many globes of colourful flowers that last for a long time. The coolest thing about this plant, however, is that it comes in lots of interesting varieties to choose from. Some of the most charming Armeria Maritima cultivars are ‘Alba’, ‘Armada’ series, ‘Bloodstone’, ‘Dusseldorf Pride’, ‘In the Red’, ‘Nifty Thrifty’, ‘Rubrifolia’, ‘Splendens’, ‘Victor Reiter’, and ‘Vindictive’.
About Sea Thrift
- Sea thrift grows mostly in wild coastal areas, salted roadsides, salt marshes, grasslands, or inland on mountain rocks. It appears at elevations of up to 656 feet (200 m) above sea level.
- Prized for its adorable, vibrant, and pink-tinted blossoms, the Armeria maritima ‘Vindictive’ cultivar has gained the Award of Garden Merit from the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society.
- In the Language of Flowers, Armeria maritima is the symbol of sympathy. Between 1937 and 1952, this plant was on the reverse of the British threepence coin. Nowadays, Armeria maritima is the county flower of the Isles of Scilly.
- Although rarely, traditional people dried and used Sea thrift in herbal medicine as an antibiotic. This plant was considered an effective treatment against nervous disorders (epilepsy), urinary infections, and obesity.
- The eye-catching flowers of Sea thrift are fairly rich in nectar. This feature makes the plant highly attractive to several species of pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, moths, and others.
- Sea thrift looks absolutely gorgeous in numerous landscape decorations both indoors and outdoors. It is an excellent addition to rock gardens, coastal gardens, cottage gardens, wildflower meadows, borders, beds, edging, or containers.
- Armeria Maritima looks great as a cut flower in a vase or if you plant it in masses as a ground cover.
- In case you want to add a dash of personality to your surroundings, make sure you plant your Sea thrift near other beautiful species of plants. The most popular companions are Abyssinian Sword-Lily, Basket-of-Gold, Erigeron ‘Four Winds’, Festuca ‘Elijah Blue’, Horned Rampion, Lavandula ‘Munstead’, and Thyme.
- Armeria maritima is one of those ornamental plants that you can grow anywhere near your furry buddies and curious children. It has no toxic effects on either humans or animals if touched or ingested.
Sea Thrift Features: An Overview
- Armeria maritima comes with several different subspecies, varying in size, flower colour, and native habitat. These are Armeria maritima subsp. californica, elongata, maritima, purpurea, and sibirica.
- Sea thrift belongs to the Armeria genus that consists of over 100 species of flowering plants. It shares this genus with interesting and look-alike species like A. alpina, A. berlengensis, A. duriaei, A. juniperifolia, A. pungens, or A. welwitschii.
- Sea thrift is an evergreen flowering perennial plant. Depending on the variety, it can reach from 3 to 12 inches (7.5-30 cm) in height and up to 12 inches (30 cm) in width.
- Sea thrift is a plant that has a compact, clump-forming overall growth. Moreover, it usually grows and spreads at a pretty slow pace.
- Its foliage is a dense, mounded tuft that contains many long, narrow, grass-like, and dark green leaves. The basal foliage emerges directly from the roots.
- In general, Sea thrift blooms from mid-spring through late summer. During this period, it produces numerous round clusters of tiny, cup-shaped blossoms that appear on tall, upright, slender, and greenish stalks (stems).
- The flowers of Sea thrift rise well above the foliage. From one cultivar to another, they can exhibit various shades of pink, white, or even bright red occasionally.
Growing Sea Thrift
The growing requirements of Sea thrift will directly depend on the region you live in. But do not worry, gardener! You will see that this plant is very low-demanding in general, no matter how much experience you have in the gardening world. Thanks to its few demands, it is an excellent companion for every type of grower, especially for beginners.
In terms of lighting, Sea thrift can tolerate any kind of exposure from full sunlight to partial shade. If you live in the northern area, your plant will grow at its best under six to eight hours of bright and direct light daily. In southern climates, we recommend you grow this flower in a spot where it can receive lots of partial sun to partial shade all year round.
As a rule, Sea thrift can do well in a wide range of temperatures from the USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9. Still, if you want to give your plant the best time ever, make sure you provide it with slightly cooler temperatures of 60 to 65 °F (16-18 °C).
Luckily, Sea thrift will not typically encounter many issues when it comes to pest infestations or fungal diseases. The only thing that may bother your plant is crown rot. This disease occurs mostly during the winter months if you are growing your Sea thrift in soil with poor drainage. To avoid this from happening, a proper growing medium for your plant will be more than enough.
Planting Sea Thrift
In general, Sea thrift is not picky regarding its growing medium. If you plant it in sandy soil that comes with very sharp drainage, you will have no problem with this plant in the future. However, make sure that the substrate is not overly fertile because it will make your Sea thrift more susceptible to root or crown rot.
Before planting your Sea thrift, we suggest you mix 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) of compost or aged manure in the growing medium. This process will help increase water retention and also improve drainage and fertility. Likewise, you should feed your Sea thrift with a balanced liquid fertilizer twice every year − once in early spring, then again during its active growing season.
Since Sea thrift makes for a wonderful potted plant, but it is sensitive to waterlogging, it is wise to plant it in a container that has drainage holes. Sea thrift tends to grow at a very slow pace, so it will not need frequent repotting. In fact, you should transplant this flower in a larger pot only when it starts to outgrow its current one.
If you dream to have a full-blooming Sea thrift in your garden every year, regular deadheading is mandatory. Many gardeners remove all spent flowers from Sea thrift plants during their blooming period to keep them flourishing for a longer period.
Watering Sea Thrift
Sea thrift is a plant that loves moisture and it usually thrives when it receives regular watering. However, too much moisture or soggy conditions can easily result in root or crown rot, especially on non-established specimens. Because of this, you must adopt a certain, but basic watering routine to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
First things first, make sure you always check the soil’s moisture in-between waterings. When the top 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) of the substrate feels dry to the touch, you can safely provide your Sea thrift with another drink.
Propagating Sea Thrift
In general, Sea thrift plants look at their best when you plant them in groups or masses. In fewer words: the more the merrier! You can surround yourself with more of these superb flowers by propagating them through division, basal cuttings, or seeds. All methods are usually very effective and show spectacular results with minimal effort on your part.
The ideal time to divide your Sea thrift is in spring. All you must do is dig out your plant from the soil, divide its roots into up to three sections, then replant each part wherever you feel like it. Yet, keep in mind that you can divide your plant only when it has reached maturity.
If you want to propagate your Sea thrift using basal cuttings, make sure you are doing it only during the summer months. Look for solid, healthy stems and cut about 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) of them with a sharp, sterilized knife. For optimal results, dip the cut ends in rooting hormone. After this step, plant each cutting in fresh soil, ensure bright light exposure and provide with water regularly to maintain the substrate damp.
Starting your own Sea thrift plants from seed is a fast process, showing flowers in the second year after sowing. First, collect the seeds from the plants once their blossoms begin to fade. Secondly, sow the seeds above a fresh damp soil in either spring or autumn. If you keep the seeds in a well-lit, cold location and a constantly damp growing medium, germination will occur in several months or so.
Blessed be Armeria maritima a.k.a. Sea thrift plants for their eternal beauty and low-maintenance habit! Once you see these bewitching flowers and learn more about them, it is absolutely impossible to resist them. And if your plant collection lacks some shades of white or pink, Sea thrifts are surely the perfect candidates to change this situation.
Are you growing Armeria Maritima? Share your experience in the comments below!