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Products > Frankenia thymifolia
Frankenia thymifolia - Sea Heath

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Frankeniaceae (Frankenias)
Origin: Algeria (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Summer
Height: <1 foot
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Frankenia thymifolia (Sea Heath) A low subshrub groundcover to 6 inches tall by 1 to 2 feet wide with wiry creeping stems densely covered with tiny semi-succulent leaves that are rolled back along the margins and have white hairs. In summer appear the very small 5-petaled rose-pink flowers in short spikes at the branch ends. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally to very little. Listed as hardy to USDA zone 8 so should be good down to at least to 20 F and maybe less. This interesting plant makes a small scale groundcover in a well-drained soil or use it in the rock or trough garden or as a bonsai companion plant. This species comes from southern Spain and north Africa where it is found in saline sites including in Algeria where it inhabits the halophyte steppes leading south to the Sahara and in the sub-sea level salt lake region of Chott Melghirof. This should be a great plant for gardens irrigated with reclaimed water. As the specific epithet implies this plant has foliage much like thyme. Frankenia was named after John Frankenius (1590-1661) sometimes written as Franke or Franckenius or Franck who was professor of anatomy, medicine and botany at Uppsala, Sweden. He was the author of Speculum botanicum, and a colleague of Linnaeus. The genus is the only one in the family Frankeniaceae and consists of up to a hundred species found in the old and new world in both northern and southern hemispheres. Our thanks go out to Robert Abe of Chia Nursery, who first introduced us to this little charmer.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Frankenia thymifolia.