Thrift, Sea Pink

By: C. Colston Burrell

Thrifts, also known as sea pinks, are excellent for the rock or wall garden. The derivation of the genus name is supposedly Celtic, a fact not too surprising, as the plants are found naturally along the maritime shores of Europe, in addition to the Pacific Northwest and Newfoundland.

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Description of thrift: Low, basal rosettes of grasslike, evergreen leaves form carpets. Plants bloom in the spring with tightly packed globes of pink flowers, often sending up a few pink flowers all summer long. Thrift ease of care: Easy.

How to grow thrift: They are very easy to grow as long as the soil is well drained with a location in full sun. If the soil is too fertile or too moist, the plants will begin to rot in the center. Older plants frequently do.

Propagating thrift: By division in early spring or by seed.

Uses for thrift: Thrifts can be used to carpet a sandy bank or a seaside garden and do well in terracotta pots in a cool greenhouse.

Thrift related varieties: 'Vindictive' bears deep pink flowers on 6-inch stems; 'Launcheana' has flowers of deep rose; and 'Alba' exhibits white flowers. 'Rubrifolia' has maroon foliage and bright rose-pink flowers. 'Bee's Ruby' is a floriferous hybrid with large flowers on tall stems good for cutting.

Scientific name for thrift: Armeria maritima


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