Develop and Look after Sea Thrift

Armeria maritima

Sea thrift, Ameria maritima, aka sea pink, is a flowering herbaceous perennial for USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to eight.

It’s a member of the massive Plumbaginaceae household of vegetation, which incorporates lavender-blue plumbago generally discovered within the Mediterranean.

A close up horizontal image of bright pink sea thrift (Armeria maritima) flowers growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

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A. maritima thrives with minimal water in poor soil and has a excessive salt tolerance. Within the spring, it produces showy flowers in lavender, pink, or white.

Please notice that every one elements of this plant are poisonous because of the species’ means to soak up and bind heavy metals, comparable to copper, from the soil.

Learn on and learn to develop and take care of sea thrift in your out of doors residing house.

Right here’s what we’ll cowl:

Let’s begin with some background.

Cultivation and Historical past

A. maritima is native to seaside locales throughout coastal Britain, northern Europe, and the North American Pacific Coast.

Upright clumps of flowering sea thrift are generally discovered rising on windswept seaward cliffs and coastlines, the place the soil is gravelly, well-draining, and saturated with salt. Deep taproots maintain them in place.

A horizontal image of a large carpet of pink sea thrift flowers growing on a rocky cliff with the ocean in the background.

The foliage is inexperienced and grass-like with naked flower stems that sport bobbing, rounded clusters of five-petaled blossoms enclosed in purplish, papery bracts from spring to summer time.

This slow-spreading, non-invasive species reaches most dimensions of six to 12 inches tall and extensive.

There are quite a few subspecies, just like the pink-flowered California sea pinks, A. maritima subsp. californica, and pink or white A. maritima subsp. sibirica, which is native to Alpine areas and is discovered rising wild in Colorado and northeastern Utah.

Crops have a excessive tolerance for drought, poor or rocky soil, heavy steel contamination, salt, and wind.

Sea thrift prefers full solar however tolerates half shade. It may well’t tolerate dense, fertile, or moist soil. The crowns, the place the stems and roots meet, rot underneath these situations.

A horizontal image of pink sea thrift growing on a craggy cliff with the ocean in the background.

We strongly warning towards consumption as a result of we all know that this plant might include poisonous heavy metals.

Traditionally, it was utilized by Scottish herbalists to deal with situations starting from tuberculosis to hangover.

The species loved a short interval of fame between 1937 and 1952 when an engraving of three spherical sea thrift flowers graced the reverse facet of a three-pence British coin, aka the thruppenny bit.

The notion of the lowly coin representing thrift is the possible cause the species was chosen.

Let’s discuss tips on how to begin a plant.

Sea Thrift Propagation

There are 4 methods to propagate sea thrift: from seeds, basal cuttings, divisions, and from nursery transplants.

A close up of the spent flowers of pink sea thrift pictured in light sunshine on a soft focus background.
Sea thrift flower heads on the finish of their life cycle.

Observe that A. maritima has no seed pods. As an alternative, every blossom bract disperses one particular person seed coated in papery chaff.

When you accumulate seeds from an current plant, sow them within the fall, or retailer them in an hermetic jar in a cool, darkish, dry place to sow the next spring.

From Seed

To start out from seed, you’ll want to gather them from a species plant reasonably than a cultivated selection if you happen to want to produce a real duplicate of the father or mother plant.

You could learn in any other case, however seeds don’t require any sort of remedy previous to sowing.

Sow seeds immediately outdoor within the spring after the final spring frost date, when nighttime temperatures are reliably 40°F or above.

Alternatively, begin seeds indoors in egg cartons or biodegradable seed starter pots about eight to 10 weeks earlier than the final frost date to get a bounce on the rising season.

You can too sow seeds immediately outdoor within the floor or containers eight to 10 weeks earlier than the primary common frost date.

Press the seeds gently into moistened, gritty, well-draining potting or backyard soil with a low nutrient content material. They need to stay on the soil floor or be barely coated.

Preserve the soil moist however not soggy, and seeds sown in pots indoors ought to be saved in a brightly lit location. Count on sprouts in roughly 21 to twenty-eight days.

Flowers began from straight species seed bloom within the second 12 months. We’ll quickly be taught that there are cultivated varieties that bloom within the first 12 months.

From Basal Stem Cuttings

Basal cuttings will be taken in spring or summer time.

In spring, you’ll be able to take away the brand new shoots that develop across the edges of a father or mother crown.

Right here’s how:

Water the plant the day earlier than so the soil is moist.

Attain underneath a clump of recent, inexperienced foliage and bend it again to reveal the shallow roots of the brand new development. The sting of the clump ought to come away simply.

Sever the extra mature roots beneath to carry a part of the clump away from the bottom.

Use your fingers to separate the person new shoots. Every ought to have its personal small faucet root.

Replant as desired.

You can too take basal cuttings in the course of the summer time.

Use a clear, sharp knife to slice straight throughout particular person stems on the soil stage.

Dip the lower or heel ends into rooting hormone powder.

Work the backyard soil to a crumbly consistency. Push the lower ends into the backyard soil.

The depth ought to be simply sufficient for the stems to face upright when backfilled with soil.

Preserve the soil moist however not soggy in the course of the weeks it takes for roots to determine. Foliar development follows root regeneration and signifies success.

By Division

You can too divide current clumps of sea thrift earlier than they bloom in early spring or on the finish of the season in early fall.

To divide sea thrift clumps:

Water the clump one to 2 days earlier than you intend to divide so the soil is simple to work.

Use a long-handled shovel to dig down not less than a foot and unearth a whole clump. Place your shovel blade simply outdoors the perimeter of the foliage and angle it towards the clump’s middle.

Slice straight down via the clump to create a number of sections, every with roots and foliage.

Replant the sections as desired on the identical depth and not less than six to 12 inches aside.


In spite of everything hazard of frost has handed and nighttime temperatures are above 40°F, you’ll be able to transplant your seedlings or nursery begins.

Acclimate them to the outside steadily, for a couple of hours every day, over the course of a couple of week.

Work your backyard soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches. Don’t add any natural amendments. The earth must be low in microbial exercise and nutrient content material.

When you want to develop sea thrift in containers, use three-gallon pots with a depth of not less than 9 and a half inches to accommodate the woody faucet roots.

Select a potting soil that’s gravelly and nutrient-poor, like this coco peat and perlite product.

This pure mix is ethereal, unfastened, and well-draining.

Coco Peat Perlite Potting Combine

Coco Peat Perlite Potting Combine is obtainable from the Soil Dawn Retailer by way of Amazon in two-, four-, eight-, and 12-quart baggage.

Transplant them into the backyard or everlasting out of doors pots on the identical depth because the vegetation had been rising within the starter containers.

The crown, the place the stems and roots meet, ought to be barely elevated above the soil stage to facilitate drainage and inhibit rotting.

For a number of vegetation, house them six to 12 inches aside. Preserve the soil evenly moist however not waterlogged for the primary 12 months after planting.

Now, let’s discuss rising.

Develop Sea Thrift

Select a location with full solar. Some shade is tolerable.

The soil ought to be very lean, with a gravelly, well-draining consistency. The best pH is within the 4 to 10 vary, that means it may be acidic, impartial, or alkaline.

A close up vertical image of potted sea thrift plants, some with pink flowers.

Established flora has a excessive tolerance for drought, salt, and wind. Overwatering and extra ambient humidity are detrimental and will end in pest and pathogen points.

As soon as established in a pot or backyard mattress, vegetation ought to solely want supplemental water throughout extended dry spells.

Sea thrift requires no fertilizer.

Rising Suggestions

Cultivation is simple whenever you keep in mind to:

  • Use a nutrient-poor, gritty, well-draining potting or backyard soil.
  • Don’t amend the soil with natural matter or apply fertilizer.
  • Permit a container depth of not less than 9.5 inches for the lengthy faucet roots.
  • Present a full solar location.
  • Preserve the soil moist throughout institution within the first rising season.
  • Keep away from overly moist situations.

The ultimate level is essentially the most essential – mockingly, waterlogged situations are the nemesis of this plant despite having “sea” in its title!

Pruning and Upkeep

Clumps unfold slowly, steadily growing their presence within the panorama. You could need to divide them to redirect their path or set up them elsewhere.

Divide them in early spring earlier than flowering or post-season in early fall.

A close up vertical image of pink sea thrift flowers and buds on long flower stalks pictured on a soft focus background.

At the moment, it’s also possible to take away the lifeless facilities of clumps that will have succumbed to rotting from overly moist situations.

Prune again lifeless foliage as wanted and deadhead spent flower stems throughout spring flowering to advertise sporadic reblooming in the course of the summer time.

Alternatively, you’ll be able to let the flowers run to seed and accumulate these of species vegetation to sow within the fall or spring.

Permit the evergreen leaves to stay in place post-bloom.

Sea Thrift Cultivars to Choose

If you wish to develop the species plant, with its vivid magenta-pink blossoms yow will discover vegetation obtainable from Nature Hills Nursery in #1 containers.

A close up of pink sea thrift flowers growing in a rocky garden.

A. maritima

Cultivated varieties are additionally obtainable to house gardeners. Bear in mind, if you happen to intend to gather seeds for propagation, solely these from the species plant will develop true.


A. maritima ‘Alba’ has white flowers and grows to heights of three to 6 inches with a ramification of six to 9 inches. It’s hardy in Zones 4 to eight.

A close up square image of white sea thrift growing in a rock garden.


‘Alba’ is obtainable from Hirt’s Gardens by way of Walmart in quart-sized containers. 


‘Splendens’ is a bit more chilly hardy than the species plant and is appropriate for cultivation in Zones 3 to eight. It reaches a mature top and width of eight to 10 inches.
A close up square image of 'Splendens' sea thrift with bright pink flowers growing in a container.


Shiny rose-pink flowers grace the panorama in late spring.

‘Splendens’ is obtainable from Nature Hills Nursery.

False Sea Thrift

As well as, there’s a species known as false or nice sea thrift, A. pseudarmeria.

It has broader leaves, bigger bloom clusters, stiffer stems, and a taller stature than A. maritima. Mature specimens are eight to 10 inches tall and extensive and can presumably develop taller in fertile soil that causes leggy stems.

‘Ballerina Purple’ is a A. pseudameria cultivar suited to Zones 6 to 9. Like A. maritima, it prefers full solar however will tolerate partial shade.

Globular clusters of brilliant crimson spring flowers bloom from mid to late spring within the first 12 months.

A close up of 'Ballerina Red' false sea thrift flowers pictured on a soft focus background.

‘Ballerina Purple’

Ballerina crimson is exceptionally warmth and salt-tolerant. With deadheading, there could also be sporadic summer time blooms.

‘Ballerina Purple’ is obtainable from Nature Hills Nursery.

Managing Pests and Illness

A. maritima shouldn’t be particularly susceptible to pests or pathogens, nevertheless it’s price protecting an eye fixed out for the next:


Leafhoppers are sap-sucking, hopping bugs of varied colours.

Their feeding causes light-colored speckling and their excretions are a breeding floor for sooty mould. Massive infestations could cause leaf yellowing and desiccation.

Therapy with food-grade diatomaceous earth could also be efficient.


Slugs favor overly moist situations and defoliate flora with their voracious chewing.

When you discover slug harm or proof of their presence, learn our information to be taught extra about tips on how to cope with them.


Overly moist situations, particularly with organically-rich, poorly draining soil, might promote the proliferation of fungal situations like leaf spot, rust, and stem and root rot.

Leaf Spot

Leaf spot illness is attributable to quite a lot of completely different fungal pathogens and seems as brownish spots with a yellowish halo and generally seen darkish specks within the middle.

Leaf drop follows. Eradicating affected foliage and treating with a fungicide ought to be efficient.


Rust has comparable signs, and can be attributable to quite a lot of completely different fungi. Rust-colored leaf spots change into blister-like, spreading and inflicting leaf drop.

Eradicating affected leaves could also be efficient, however many sorts of rust are fungicide-resistant.

Stem and Root Rot

Rhizoctonia solani, a soil borne fungus, causes stem and root rot. Signs embrace lesions on the stems and foliage close to floor stage and root decay.

Crops within the seedling stage and people in overly moist soil are most prone.

The very best method to this pathogen is to behave preventatively by shopping for high-quality, disease-free seed. In case your vegetation are contaminated, take away affected elements and sanitize backyard instruments.

Contact your native agricultural extension for particulars about which fungicides are at the moment really useful.

Greatest Makes use of for Sea Thrift

Sea thrift is a flexible flower naturally suited to salty coastal beds, borders, and containers.

A horizontal image of a mixed garden border with a variety of colorful flowers including loosestrife, geraniums, and pink sea thrift.
Sea thrift interplanted with loosestrife, geranium, and aubretia.

With a three-gallon pot or bigger to accommodate its lengthy faucet root, you’ll discover it a superb companion to aubretia coreopsis, geranium, and loosestrife.

Its petite stature and spreading development behavior make sea thrift excellent for edging and mass-planting as a floor cowl. Sprawling companions embrace fleabane, gumweed, stonecrop, and sand verbena.

The showy flower heads and straight, upright stems are fascinating in a chopping backyard, the place the vegetation appeal to helpful bees, beetles, butterflies, flies, and moths.

And at last, A. maritima shines in rock gardens and naturalistic, low-moisture xeriscapes.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Sort: Herbaceous perennial Flower/Foliage Shade: Pink, lavender, white/inexperienced
Native to: Coastal Britain, northern Europe, North American Pacific Coast Tolerance: Deer, drought, dry/poor/rocky soil, heavy steel contamination, rabbits, salt, wind
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 4-8 Upkeep: Average
Bloom Time: Spring, sporadic summer time with deadheading Soil Sort: Lean, rocky, sandy
Publicity: Full solar to half shade Soil pH: 4.0-10.0
Spacing: 6-12 inches Soil Drainage: Nicely-draining
Planting Depth: Floor sow (seeds), identical depth as authentic container (transplants) Attracts: Bees, beetles, butterflies, flies, moths
Peak: 6-12 inches Companion Planting: Aubretia, columbine, coreopsis, dianthus, fleabane, geranium, gumweed, loosestrife, sand verbena, and stonecrop
Unfold: 6-12 inches Makes use of: Coastal beds and borders, containers, chopping gardens, edging, floor cowl, mass planting, rock gardens, xeriscapes
Development Charge: Gradual Household: Plumbaginaceae
Water Wants: Low Genus: Armeria
Frequent Pests and Illnesses: Leafhoppers, slugs; leaf spot, rust, stem and root rot Species: Maritima

A Seasoned Seaside Magnificence

Don’t be deceived by sea thrift’s quaintly bobbing blooms. Beneath their dainty look is a tricky plant that’s accustomed to battering winds, nutrient-poor soil, and sea spray.

A close up horizontal image of light pink sea thrift flowers growing in the garden.

A. maritima is a star within the house backyard as a result of it isn’t susceptible to pests or illnesses, spreads non-aggressively, and is good for a water-wise panorama.

Keep away from extra moisture, present wonderful drainage, and skip the fertilizer to get pleasure from years of perky springtime blooms.

Do you develop sea thrift in your out of doors residing house? Please share your ideas within the feedback part beneath.

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