Sea Pinks: Coastal pink flowers that are tough as old boots!

Sea Pinks: Coastal pink flowers that are tough as old boots!

Devon Sea Pink flowers to me, are a sign that I'm at the coast, they give me that seaside feeling. 

Seeing the Sea Pinks flower at Boat Cove made me want to know more about them. This is what I discovered about Sea Pinks.

Wild sea pinks growing on the cliffs at Boat Cove, Dawlish

Sea Pinks growing on the cliffs at Boat Cove. 
Photo by Nelly P. 


I love Sea Pinks. They’re one of my favourite plants because they’re flowering all summer on our local coastline. Watching them sway on the cliffs in a sea breeze and seeing the pale pink colour of their flowers in the sunshine is one of those happy feelings. Here are a few facts I discovered about sea pinks.

Where can you find wild sea pinks?

  • Sea pinks can grow in dry, sandy, and salty coastal cliffs. 
  • They can also grow happily in grassland and salt marshes. 
  • You can sometimes find them growing on salted roadsides. 
  • They can even be found growing way inland on rocky mountains.
  • Sea Pinks can be found in wild coastal areas all across the northern hemisphere.
Wild pink sea pinks growing on a sandstone cliff at Boat Cove, Dawlish
Sea Pinks at Boat Cove, Dawlish. Photo by Nelly P.

When do sea pinks flower?

  • Sea pinks flower between April and October.
  • Here at Boat Cove they can flower earlier due to the warm climate.

Amazing facts about sea pinks

  • A study in Wales discovered that the Sea Pink can tolerate large amounts of copper in the soil. It’s able to grow in soils with high copper concentrations. Most of the copper is retained within the roots with very little being transported to the shoots of the plant.
  • Another study discovered that they can also tolerate high amounts of zinc, cadmium, and lead in the soil.
  • Some types of sea pinks have conservation status as ‘Species of significant importance’ in the UK. This is because they live in ‘Habitats of significant importance’ as defined in The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. 

Wild sea pinks have pale pink flowers

Wild Sea Pinks in the Boat Cove, Dawlish area are pale pink. Photo by Nelly P.



My artwork of Boat Cove, Dawlish, you can buy these prints in my shop


We have sea pinks growing on the South Devon coast. We can also find them on the cliff tops all over North Devon and Cornwall. Here at Boat Cove, they grow on the dry red sandstone cliffs that get battered by wind and sea, frost, and scorching sun – they really are ‘tough as old boots’!

Here are some answers to more questions you may have about Sea Pinks.

    Are sea pinks only pink?

    • Our local Devon sea pinks have pale pink flowers.
    • You can commonly find them with globes of bright pink flowers.
    • In some cases, they can have purple, white or even red flowers.

    Do sea pinks have other names?

    • The plant’s Latin name is Armeria maritima. The common names for it are thrift, sea thrift or sea pink.
    • The name Maritima refers to it being from the sea or coast.
    • Sea Pinks are a member of the Plumbaginaceae family of plants.

    Do sea pinks grow in gardens?

    • We have wild and variegated sea pinks growing happily in our garden. They seem quite happy growing on top of our red stone walls.
    • They’re a popular garden flower and are a flower that’s used worldwide as a cut flower. 
    • Sea pinks grow well in rock gardens or xeriscapes, 'What is a xeriscape?' I hear you ask! Xeriscapes are gardens designed to flourish without watering. Who knew!

     Variegated sea pinks growing in our coastal garden near Boat Cove, Dawlih

    Variegated Sea Pinks growing in our garden. Photo by Nelly P.


      I hope you found this interesting. I'm always happy to see these flowers on our local coastline, I hope they give you the same feeling. 

      Thanks for reading.

       Check out my seaside art prints in my shop :)


      Main photo: Sea Pinks at Boat Cove, Dawlish, Devon, UK by me, Nelly P. 

      Go deeper

      This is what I read to learn about Sea Pinks. You can learn more about sea pinks in the references below.

      If you think there are errors in this article or you want to add to it get in touch, I'm happy to edit it.

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