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Armeria (Sea Pink, Thrift)

ARMERIA (Sea Pink, Thrift) Plumbaginaceae A. species

HABITAT: Native southern Europe, Eurasia, and North America. Zone 3.

USES: Cuts, rock gardens, border, beds, edgings, seashore gardens.

HABIT: Low, tufted, evergreen, hardy perennial plants with narrow foliage and globe-like clusters of pink, lilac, white, or red flowers, blooming late spring-summer. Height 12-18".

SEED GERMINATION: Sow indoors in moistened Grow Mix in early spring and maintain cool 55°F nights and warm 72°F days until germination, which is usually 10 to 14 days. Transplant when large enough to handle to peat pots, or sow directly to peat pots or pellets and shift to the garden when roots emerge from pot walls. Seedlings may flower first year if sown early enough but generally begin flowering second year from seed.

Sow outdoors in spring or early fall where winters are mild. Sow in a protected bed, such as a cold frame. Cover seed about four times their thickness with Grow Mix. Thin seedlings as required.

CULTURE: Set out in full sun 9-12" apart in dry, light, sandy soil with excellent drainage. Give light to moderate watering, careful cultivation, and light fertilization (every 6 weeks) with a general garden fertilizer, such as 5-10-10. Divide clumps every third year to prevent deterioration of plant vigor.

SPECIES: A. juniperifolia (Juniper Thrift). Same as A. caespitosa. 2". Mound-like, awl-shaped leaves and white to pink flowers in May. Spain.
A. maritima (Common Thrift). 6-12". Same as A. laucheana. Grass-like evergreen leaves. White to rose-pink. May-June. South Greenland. Tolerates salt spray.
A. pseudo-armeria, also known as A. formosa, A. latifolin, A. cephalotis (pinkball Thrift). 2 1/2'. White, red, pink. July-August. Portugal.

INSECTS: Not generally a problem.

DISEASES: Rust: Spray every two weeks with an approved fungicide, such as Ferbam, Maneb, and Zineb. Rot: Improve drainage. Water less often.

PROPAGATION: Division (spring or September), seed.

REMARKS: Armerias are neat and restricted and warrant a place in any garden, large or small; but they must have light, well-drained soil for best performance.