Narrow, stiff, evergreen leaves grow in compact tufts or basal rosettes; small white, pink, rose, or red flowers are carried in dense, globular heads. Main bloom period is spring to early summer, but shearing off faded flowers may prolong flowering. Sturdy, dependable plants for edging walks or borders and for tidy mounds in rock gardens or raised beds. Attractive in containers.
Good drainage is essential and permits regular watering, but safest tactic is to water moderately in dry climates, sparingly in moister regions. Tolerate seaside conditions, infertile soil. Seldom browsed by deer. Clumps spread slowly and need dividing only when bare centers show.
A. maritima (A. vulgaris). SEA THRIFT. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-11. Native to Europe, North America. Tufted mounds spread to 1 ft.; leaves are 6 in. long. White to rose-pink flowers in tight clusters atop 6- to 10-in. stalks. Bloom is profuse in spring (goes on almost all year in mildest climates). 'Bloodstone' has rose-red flowers, 'Cotton Tail' white blooms. 'Rubrifolia', with purplish-red foliage and rosy pink blossoms, provides color for much of the year.
A. pseudarmeria. LARGE-FLOWERED THRIFT. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Native to Portugal. Mounded plants grow 810 in. tall and wide. Primary bloom in late spring but may rebloom if deadheaded. 'Ballerina Red' offers compact plants 12 14 in. tall.