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This flowering perennial could be perfect for your yard this summer

Ciscoe says this thrift plant, Armeria, loves hot sunny locations in a border or a rock garden.

SEATTLE — The plant thrift may not be familiar to everyone, but gardening expert Ciscoe Morris says it's one you should include in your garden. 

Armeria was given the common name of ‘thrift’ because it thrives in harsh conditions. You can tell it's earned its name when you see our native Armeria maritima growing along rocky, wind-blown coasts in the San Juan Islands.  

There are several species of Armeria and all of these attractive perennials flourish in hot sunny locations in the front of the border or in a rock garden or on a sandy or rocky ocean beach. They are not bothered by salt spray and are a great choice for seaside gardens. 

The evergreen leaves resemble spreading clumps of grass, and the little rounded flower heads of white, red, or pink appear to float above the foliage. The flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies, and deer and bunnies don't bother them.   

Armeria normally blooms in spring and early summer, but regular deadheading should be undertaken immediately after the flowers fade will keep them blooming all summer long.

Plant in an area with very well-drained soil and water sparingly. If your Armeria begins to die out in the middle, it's usually because you are watering or fertilizing too much. These rugged plants are highly susceptible to root rot, especially in poorly draining soils. 

If the middle begins to die out, it’s a sign that the roots are beginning to rot. If this happens, you can try dividing it. 

Use a digging spade or shovel to remove the middle third of the plant leaving healthy clumps on each side.  Fill in the empty section with a cactus potting soil mix; then reduce watering and feeding to encourage the clump to slowly fill back in.  

If all goes well and your plant recovers, deadhead spent flowers regularly and your thrift will keep blooming all summer long.  

If all doesn't go well,  take the easy route and toss it out and buy a new one.  If you don't have fast-draining soils, try growing sea thrift in a pot filled with cactus soil.  The plants will fill the pot in no time pumping out spectacular flowers all summer long.

Besides our native Ameria maritima, some of Ciscoe's favorite varieties include: 

  • 'Dusseldorf Pride' with compact leaves and deep rose flowers 
  • 'Dreamland'' with the biggest flowers of any sea thrift with grassy leaves forming a hummock 10 to 12 inches tall and wide
  • 'Red Leaved,' featuring burgundy foliage and rose-pink flowers
  • 'Morning star', profuse flowering of rose pink blooms and very low growing leaves 
  • 'Nifty Thrifty' with low-growing variegated foliage (a white stripe down the edge of each leaf) contrasting with magenta-pink flowers.

Segment Producer Suzie Wiley. Watch New Day Northwest at 11 a.m. weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day. 

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