New Zealand flax

Phormium tenax

New Zealand flax - Phormium tenax

Common Name: New Zealand flax
Genus: Phormium
Species: tenax

Category: Perennials
Growth Rate: Average
Features: Has interesting foliage

Hardiness: Half-HardyHeight: 4.00 m (400 cm)
Sun/Shade: Full sunSpread: 2.00 m (200 cm)

Foliage Type: EvergreenFlower Colour: Red
Foliage Colour: Blue/Green, GreenFlowering Period: July

Soil Type: Normal/Loam
Soil Moisture: Moist, but well drained

With their arching strappy sword-shaped leaves Phormiums make a dramatic statement in the garden. Originating from New Zealand where their fibre has traditionally been used in the same way as hemp or sisal they are versatile evergreen plants that tolerate a range of conditions and look at home in a variety of different planting schemes. This combined with the increasing number of colourful varieties being introduced means that they have become increasingly popular in recent years. This one is a large robust species with thick dark green leaves with blue-green undersides. In hot summers towering spikes of tubular red flowers emerge from the centre followed by sturdy seed-heads. This New Zealand flax makes a magnificent feature plant for a large sunny garden where it will provide structure and act as a foil for flowering plants. It copes particularly well with wind and coastal sites.

  • Garden care: In late spring remove any dead or damaged leaves and apply a balanced fertiliser and a mulch of well-rotted organic matter to stimulate vigorous new growth.

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