It is a popular garden flower, known by many names including thrift, sea thrift, and sea pink.. The plant has been distributed worldwide as a garden and cut flower. It does well in gardens designed as xeriscapes or rock gardens.
It is a compact perennial which grows in low clumps and sends up long stems from which globes of bright pink flowers blossom. In some cases purple, white or red flowers also occur.
The plant can be found in the wild in coastal areas across the Northern Hemisphere, especially in Europe, but also occurs in parts of South America. It is a common sight in British marshes. It can grow in dry, sandy, saline conditions such as those at beaches and salt marshes.
Armeria maritima has a great copper-tolerance, and is able to grow in soils with copper concentrations of up to 6400 mg/kg. One mechanism proposed is that not much copper is transported up the shoot of the plant, and is excreted from decaying leaves.