Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

One of the first garden plants I fell in love with was Armeria, better known as Sea Thrift.  These strange mounds of grass like foliage produce little crystal buds that explode into charming puffs of pink and red.  Over the past couple years I’ve become well acquainted with this plant and my appreciation for it only grows bigger. Last year while walking adjacent to the beach I noticed some familiar clumps of “grass” growing throughout a field where people let their dogs play. Although it wasn’t flowering at the time (it was winter) I was sure of my id and I took a little specimen home to see if I could make it thrive. Sure enough it was a naturalized variety of Armeria. In spring I was rewarded for my patience with a bountiful show of flowers almost more prolific then the garden varieties I had planted the year before.

I’m not exactly sure if armeria is native to Victoria or if it somehow escaped someone’s garden and loved life free on the the coast. It’s spread with vigor and with a keen eye can be found in certain areas of coastal Victoria. With a name like sea thrift one would deduce that the plant often grows by the sea, the salt doesn’t seem to bother it at all.  Now with that being said I found last years specimen about 2 km from where this following photograph was taken, in a field, not on the beach. What looks like a dried up clump of grass is actually an established mound of armeria growing off a rock, a stone’s throw away from the ocean. Plants always find a way to survive in the most unlikely of places.

Sea thrift spotting, on the beach, living on a rock with salt sprays.

<left photo> Armeria juniperifolia in bud at the greenhouse <right photo> Garden Varieties in bloom in June.

2 Responses to Plant Spotting: Armeria maritima – Sea Thrift

  • susan says:

    Is it possible to grow Sea Thrift in the midlands, have always loved this plant on my holidays in Wales were it grows happily, but wondered if it will survive away from the sea?

  • Holley says:

    I have a tiny spot of it growing in my garden and I’ve noticed over the last couple of days that it’s beginning to flower. I bought it on a whim and don’t know much about it. But looking at these pictures I’m realizing that it could be better utilized elsewhere. You have inspired me to move mine, and to purchase more, for another part of the garden. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.