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Plant Profile: Sandwort (Arenaria balearica)

This creeping evergreen perennial is native native to the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia and mainland Italy and is a member of the carnation family, Caryophyllaceae, that also includes, pinks, baby’s breath, and Irish moss.  It grows 1/2-1″ tall and froms a dense moss-like carpet of tiny green leaves. In late spring and early summer short stems bear tiny star-like flowers with 5 pure white petals.  Plants need  partial shade  and well-drained soil that does not dry out in summer and are a good choice for alpine troughs, between paving stones and for rock, alpine, and wall gardens.  The genus name, Arenaria, comes from the Latin word arena, meaning sand, and refers to the natural habitat of most of the plants.  The specific epithet, balearica, refers to the Balearic Islands, where the plants are native.

Type: Evergreen perennial

Bloom: Tiny white flowers in late spring and early summer

Size: 1/2-1′ H x spreading

Light: Partial shade; full sun if soil is consistantly moist

Soil: Average, consistantly moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Division, basal cuttings, seed

Companion Plants: Ferns, Romoda myconi, Croydalis ochroleuca

Photo Credit: Ghislain Wikipedia