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Armeria Joy Stick Red, a Hard-to-find Perennial

In June I reported that I had found an unusually tall Armeria at a big box store. Unlike other cultivars of Armeria that grow 6 or 10 inches in height, the variety, Armeria pseudarmeria Joy Stick Red, grows 16 inches tall. That’s impressive. Its spikes are crowned with large red balls that make it eye catching.

The plant tag promised that this perennial would bloom from May until September. Not only was it true to its promise but it also punctuated the color stories in my gardens with a splash of red all season long. I was particularly impressed how well it worked in flower beds located close to the edges of in-ground swimming pools. The play of the plant's verticality with the horizontal lines of the water created interesting drama. The contrast of the red flower balls against the surrounding neutral patio stones was equally impressive.

I am slowly coming to the realization that red-blooming plants can add visual appeal to gardens that are otherwise colored in the English style of pink, blue and yellow. It’s all about selecting a plant in a shade of red that is not too vibrant and combining it with versatile colors that integrate easily, such as yellow, white and deep pink.  Sometimes, a red perennial will bloom when nearby plants are still dormant or past their prime. At these moments, it has the stage to itself and contrasting with the surrounding green foliage of other plants, it can put on quite a show.

Like all other Armeria, this cultivar works best at the front of a flower border in full sun. It is heat, drought and salt tolerant and, when not in bloom, should not be confused with a clump of grass.


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