Sea Thrift

If you were to take a boat along the towering ocean cliffs of Cornwall during the summertime, you’d witness carpets of small pink and white flowers growing on the salty rock faces, in what appear to uninhabitable locations. Those are called wild Sea Thrift, known for being as sweet and dainty as a china cup, yet hardy… and seemingly as strong as a cement block.

We are pleased to offer an urbanized version of these wildflowers called Modern Sea Thrift (Armeria maritima). These flowers are perfect for American gardens, large or small. The plants pop up every year in little tufts of bright green. In the springtime after the leaves have formed, the plant grows spikes of small globular flowers that invite you to bend down and examine them.

Provided that you situate these plants carefully in well-drained soil, they will give you countless repeat years of summer garden pleasure. These flowers actually thrive in poor, rocky soil that is well-drained. Water them enough just to get them established, and then keep them dry and well-drained as they grow.

Thrift is a remarkably versatile plant. You can plant them in almost any sort of well-drained pots, containers or troughs. Plant them en masse as a replacement for grass, to have a bloom-filled yard. They spread slowly, so if you want them for groundcover, you’ll need to plant quite a lot of them to ensure adequate coverage. They also do quite well nestled among rocks and along dry stream beds. You can even situate them to “spill” out of broken pottery for a natural effect.

These plants also make a tidy edger along the front of your garden bed. Perfect for small inner-city gardens or to jazz up the front of your perennials border. If you remove the spent flowers – a process called deadheading – these hardy plants will reward you with continuous blooms all summer long.

You’ll want to add these compact, low-growing little beauties to your garden this year, so order yours today!

Armeria Maritima is an herbaceous perennial plant, belonging to the sea lavender family Plumbaginaceae (blue plumbago).

This plant is native to temperate coastal areas and mountains in the northern hemisphere, mainly northern Europe and also found in North America.

This flowering perennial plant has various geographical subspecies which mainly differ in pollen structure and flower morphology.

It is a low-growing, compact evergreen plant which sprouts clusters of tiny flowers.

This non-invasive and non-aggressive plant is also known by various common names, including:

  • Common Thrift
  • Siberian sea thrift
  • Interior sea pink
  • California sea pink
  • Thrift sea pink
  • Sea Thrift

Armeria Maritime Care

Size & Growth

This evergreen, compact plant grows around 6″ – 12″ inches tall from a woody taproot.

It has a mounded tuft which slow expands and includes numerous dark green, needle-shaped, and stiff leaves with hairs around their margins in most cases.

Flowering and Fragrance

During the bloom time mid-spring, Armeria Maritima has a bloom color of lavender to bright pink flower color which are in tiny round clusters.

The flowers are subtended with papery bracts, purplish on top of leafless, unbranched, and slender flower stems.

All of the flowers include five petals connecting at the base with five stamens.

Best flowering requires large plugs or mature plants.

Foliage color is silver and type is deciduous.

Forms linear grass-like dark green leaves up to 4″ inches tall.

The Dusseldorf Pride variety has deep pink to wine-red flowers.

Light & Temperature

This flowering plant prefers full sun and part shade. For optimal growth the plant requires high light.

The ideal temperatures for this plant are between 60° – 65° degrees Fahrenheit (16° C – 18° C) if the night temperature is below 55° degrees Fahrenheit (13° C) than it drastically slows down the growth of this plant and increases crop times.

USDA zone – hardiness zone 3 – 9.

Watering and Feeding

It is best to water the new plants every day for the next few weeks.

Once plants are fully established, watering must be adjusted as per the soil type and weather.

Watering after two to three days is preferred for best growth.

The moisture is held longer in clay soil as compared to sandy soil, so it is essential to water the plant regularly in sandy conditions.

The soil moisture should be checked by using a small trowel or finger to dig in the soil and examine it.

The plant requires water if first 2″ – 4″ inches of the soil appear to be dry.

Use fertilizer in the soil when prepping beds for the new plants.

It is best to feed the established plants during early spring and once again during its growing season.

Avoid feeding the plant during late growth season as it will stimulate growth which would be damaged because of its first frosts.

Soil & Transplanting

Armeria Maritima splendens grow best in well-drained, lean soil.

This plant doesn’t tolerate moist soil and is drought tolerant.

Prolonged moist soil might result in rotting from the center and eventually killing off the whole plant.

Therefore, too fertile soil, heavy clay, and extended moist soil must be avoided, which is the reason why this plant is known to be short-lived.

However, if it has a proper setting to grow, it can survive for numerous years with minimum maintenance.

Grooming and Maintenance

Deadhead the common thrift plant to enhance its growth.

If its center is starting to rot, it is best to cut it back severely.

Divide the plant, discard the rotten center, and replant the healthy sections.

This plant is evergreen so avoid pruning during the fall season, and remove all the dead leaves during the spring season.

How to Propagate Common Thrift

The ideal propagation of Armeria Maritima is through seeds.

It is recommended to soak the seeds in warm water for 8 hours before sowing in sandy soil-filled pots.

The germination process of this plant is completed in two to three weeks at 59° degrees Fahrenheit (15° C).

Once the plant becomes large enough to manage, it is best to transfer the seedlings in individual pots to grow in cold frames during the first winter.

Plant it out in early summer or late spring.

The division should be done during the spring season or after the plant has flowered.

Plant large divisions straight in the permanent position.

However, it is better to pot small divisions to grow in a cold frame in the light shade until they start rooting.

Afterward, the plant should be transferred to its permanent position.

Sea Thrift Pest or Diseases

This plant mostly grows disease-free, pest free, and is deer resistant.

However, keep a check on crown rots, which is caused due to poor drainage and winter wet.

Be on a lookout for rust as well.

California Sea Pink Uses

Thrift seapink is best used massed together in sandy to gravelly or dry beds, as a perennial border, or in rock gardens.

A compact plant type for edging, border fronts, rock gardens or use as a ground cover.

Makes a good cut flower.

The mounded compact shape of this plant provides a stunning textual contrast to other types of low-growing plants.

Place the plant in a position where it won’t be overgrown by fast-spreading taller perennials.

This plant may be utilized with smaller plants in mixed containers.

Armeria Maritima is excellent for trough gardens which offer good drainage.

It is rarely utilized in herbal medicines, but it is antibiotic, which is why the dried flowering perennial is used in obesity treatment, urinary infection treatment, and for treating certain nervous disorders.

It should not be utilized as an external antibiotic poultice since it might result in local irritation or dermatitis.



With thrift’s low mat of grassy green foliage, this plant looks good even when not in bloom. Once thrift begins its floral show—with wands of pink, red, or white ball-shape blooms dancing above the foliage—it looks even better! Thrift makes an attractive addition to regular gardens, trough gardens, and containers. It is even popping up in fairy gardens.

genus name
  • Armeria
  • Part Sun,
  • Sun
plant type
  • Perennial
  • Under 6 inches,
  • 6 to 12 inches,
  • 1 to 3 feet
  • 4 to 12 inches
flower color
  • Red,
  • White,
  • Pink
foliage color
  • Blue/Green
season features
  • Spring Bloom,
  • Fall Bloom,
  • Summer Bloom
problem solvers
  • Deer Resistant,
  • Groundcover,
  • Drought Tolerant
special features
  • Low Maintenance,
  • Good for Containers,
  • Cut Flowers
  • 4,
  • 5,
  • 6,
  • 7,
  • 8,
  • 9
  • Division,
  • Seed

Garden Plans For Thrift

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Colorful Combinations

Also known as sea thrift or sea pink, this tough plant adds wonderful spring color to the garden—especially when used at the front. That’s because of its playful blossoms, which resemble pompoms. Although thrift is tough enough to use in rock gardens, it is also appealing enough to use as a cut flower. For prettiest results, display the short stems in small bud vases.

Discover more easy groundcovers for your garden.

Thrift Care Must-Knows

Thrift can be very easy to grow. Just keep in mind that this plant is native to coastal climates; in fact, you’ll see it flourishing on the sides of cliffs. The species Armeria maritima gets its name from those maritime climates. Because thrift thrives in harsh, rocky conditions, this low-growing plant adapts well to drought and drying winds. Thrift’s ability to stand up to salt spray is another notable adaptation, which means you can plant it near areas that receive sprays of sea water. Make sure you plant thrift in well-drained soil, because rot can be a problem when it is planted in dirt that’s too heavy or stays too wet.

Thrift prefers full sun because it encourages the largest number of flowers and dries out the plant after rain and waterings. Thrift can also tolerate part shade. Too much shade, though, and thrift’s foliage gets lanky and bears fewer flowers.

As thrift grows, it eventually forms dead spots in the center (which is typically a dense mat) due to age. Don’t panic; this condition is quite normal after years of growth. Make thrift look verdant again by digging and dividing it, which makes the plant put out new growth. Trimming a plant encourages new branching at the base. Cut back flowers as soon as they’re finished to encourage a second round of blossoms.

Plant perfect perennials using this guide.

New Innovations

Breeders have focused on creating plants that flower beyond spring. Success on this front includes a series said to bloom the entire growing season as long as the gardener deadheads plants regularly.

More Varieties of Thrift

Armeria pseudarmeria

Armeria pseudarmeria grows larger in all respects than sea thrift. Leaves are wider, the plant grows several inches taller, and flowers are larger. Zones 6-7

‘Morning Star Deep Rose’ thrift

This variety of Armeria maritima has rich rose flowers that last for a long time over a mound of grassy green foliage. It grows 6 inches tall. Zones 3-9

‘Nifty Thrifty’ thrift

This aptly named cultivar of thrift features pink flowers and variegated foliage of green and cream. Zones 4-9

Pink thrift

Armeria maritima ‘Rosea’ has medium-pink, ball-shape blooms that rise 6-8 inches above grassy green foliage. Remove old flowers to keep it blooming. Zones 3-9

‘Ruby Glow’ thrift

Armeria maritima ‘Ruby Glow’ has deep pink blooms on 8-inch-tall stalks. Zones 3-9

White thrift

This selection of Armeria maritima ‘Alba’ bears pure-white blooms on 8-inch-tall stems over grassy foliage. Zones 3-9

Plant Thrift With:

Showy, brightly colored flowers are saucer-shape, sometimes semidouble, over loose mounds of handsome dark strawberrylike leaves. Many of the best cultivars are hybrids between species. These plants do best in a well-drained, rich soil.

Named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, iris indeed comes in a rainbow of colors and in many heights. All have the classic, impossibly intricate flowers. The flowers are constructed with three upright “standard” petals and three drooping “fall” petals, which are often different colors. The falls may be “bearded” or not. Some cultivars bloom a second time in late summer. Some species prefer alkaline soil while others prefer acidic soil.Shown above: Immortality iris

Catmint is one of the toughest perennials you can grow. It’s a proven performer during hot, dry weather, and the silvery foliage and blue flowers look great most of the season. Deadhead or cut back hard after first flush of bloom to encourage more flowers. Average, well-drained soil is usually sufficient. Tall types may need gentle staking; it sometimes seeds freely.As you might guess from the common name, catmint is a favorite of cats. They’ll often roll around in the plants in delight.

What is it? A rugged coastal plant won’t balk at poor soil, exposed sites or a good lashing from the wind. Its neat carpet of evergreen leaves is topped with lollipops of candy-pink flowers from May to September. Sea pink (also known as thrift or Armeria maritima) makes perfect ground cover for gravel gardens, border edging or planting in a trough: I’m getting some to put on my green roof. Expect a height and spread of around 30cm x 30cm.

Plant it with? Thrift will rub along nicely with other drought-tolerant toughies, such as blue fescue grass (Festuca glauca), dusty miller (Lychnis coronaria), and wormwood (artemisia).

And where? If you have a coastal garden and struggle to grow much, this British native is a banker. It will not, however, enjoy life on poorly drained soils or shady spots.

Any drawbacks? As Derek Jarman, in whose Dungeness garden thrift thrived, pointed out, “It’s going to leap about.” In other words, if this plant likes your garden, it will spread and spread. If it fails to spread, divide plants in autumn or early spring to make more.

What else does it do? Bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects will be drawn to its nectar.

Buy it Order one 5cm potted plant for £9.99, or three plants for £12.99. All orders include free p&p. To order, call 0330 333 6856, quoting ref GUA698. Or visit our Reader Offers page. Delivery from November.

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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.

Plant Search

Splendens Sea Thrift flowers

Splendens Sea Thrift flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height: 6 inches

Flower Height: 10 inches

Spread: 12 inches


Hardiness Zone: 3a

Other Names: Sea Pink


This compact plant is great in rock and alpine gardens; pretty rose-red clusters of flowers rise above glossy, grassy foliage forming a neat clump; will tolerate areas affected by salt and heat

Ornamental Features

Splendens Sea Thrift has masses of beautiful balls of rose flowers at the ends of the stems from mid spring to early summer, which are most effective when planted in groupings. Its small glossy grassy leaves remain emerald green in color throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Splendens Sea Thrift is a dense herbaceous evergreen perennial with a ground-hugging habit of growth. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. Deer don’t particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Splendens Sea Thrift is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Splendens Sea Thrift will grow to be only 6 inches tall at maturity extending to 10 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 12 inches. Its foliage tends to remain low and dense right to the ground. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Splendens Sea Thrift is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a ‘spiller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden. Be aware that in our climate, most plants cannot be expected to survive the winter if left in containers outdoors, and this plant is no exception. Contact our store for more information on how to protect it over the winter months.

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