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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
SEA THRIFT, COMMON THRIFT, SEA PINKS
Pronounced: ar-ME-ree-ah mah-RIH-tim-mah
Coastal and mountain areas in the Northern Hemisphere.
Sunset zones: A-2, A3; 1-9, 14-24.
USDA zones: 3-9.
Heat zones: 9-1.
Height: 8 inches (20 cm).
Width: 12 inches (30 cm).
Late spring to summer.
Pink to lavender flower heads in round clusters on about a six-inch stalk.
Densely tufted, grasslike leaves one and a half to six inches long.
Infertile, dry, well-drained soils.
Sow seeds in spring or fall.
Divide in spring.
Take basal cuttings in summer.
Shear back spent blossoms for a second flush of blooms.
Rainy Side Notes
Although not as common in our region as they are in other coastal regions of the Northern hemisphere, sea thrift is found on our bluffs, sandy spits and coastal beaches.
These tap-rooted perennials form hummocks as the plant matures. To keep the leaves in a tight mound, push stems toward the center when they fall outwards leaving an open center, or divide them when the centers open up. I plant mine between rocks on top of a wall and let them cascade down, this keeps them in a tight mound. Unfortunately, I lost them to raccoons digging around the plants in search of food. Now armed with a dog that may discourage the raccoons, I hope the plants survive him; if so, we will grow these beauties again.
If given their requirements of lean, dry, well-drained soil in full sun, these drought tolerant plants require little maintenance.
The flowers dry easily. Cut them when they are in full bloom, hang them upside down in a dry, dark place with good air circulation.
Photographed in author's garden.