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Phormium tenax (New Zealand Flax)

New Zealand Flax, Common Flax Lily, Flax Bush, New Zealand Hemp, Coastal Flax

Phormium Tenax, New Zealand Flax, Evergreen Perennial, Common Flax Lily, Flax Bush, New Zealand Hemp, Coastal Flax

A stunning focal point for the garden, Phormium tenax (New Zealand Flax) is a very ornamental and robust evergreen perennial featuring a basal rosette of rigid, sword-shaped, upright leaves up to 10 ft. long (3 m), ranging from green to bronze to chocolate-brown. Some cultivars produce variegated leaves, beautifully striped or edged with pink, red, orange or purple, adding a bright note to the garden year-round. The architectural foliage is topped in summer with a dramatic flowering stalk reaching up to 12 ft. (360 cm) and bearing panicles of tubular flowers, about 2 in. long (5 cm), in shades of deep red or reddish-orange. Showy, they attract nectar-seeking birds. Native to New Zealand, Phormium tenax is primarily grown for its attractive foliage.

    • Adds architectural height to the garden and grows up to 1-12 ft. high (30-360 cm) and 1-3 ft. wide (30-90 cm).
    • Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates a wide range of soils, including poor soils and even strong shade. Salt and drought tolerant.
    • Deer and rabbit resistant
    • Great for beds and borderscity gardens, coastal gardens, gravel gardens, or Mediterranean gardens. Excellent as a container plant!
    • Virtually disease-free. Watch for mealybug
    • Propagate by seed sown in spring or by division in spring
    • Remove dead or damaged leaves in the spring
    • Great Phormium tenax cultivars:
      Duet‘ – with sword-shaped leaves green in the center, variegated with cream along the margins. 32 in. tall (80 cm). AGM award
      Sundowner‘ – with erect bronze-green leaves striped towards the margins with red and pink. 5 ft. tall (150 cm). AGM award
      Variegatum‘ – with erect, strap-shaped, green leaves striped with cream towards the margins. 5 ft. tall (150 cm). AGM award
      Yellow Wave‘ – with arching, strap-shaped leaves heavily striped with bright gold. Up to 12 ft. tall (3m60). AGM award

Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Heat Zones 2 - 12
Climate Zones 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Xanthorrhoeaceae
Genus Phormium
Common names Flax, New Zealand Flax
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 12'
(30cm - 3.7m)
Spread 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spacing 12" - 36"
(30cm - 90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Salt, Rabbit
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Informal and Cottage, City and Courtyard
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Phormium tenax ‘All Black’ (New Zealand Flax)
Phormium tenax Purpureum Group (New Zealand Flax)
Phormium ‘Dark Delight’ (New Zealand Flax)
Phormium ‘Amazing Red’ (New Zealand Flax)
Phormium ‘Yellow Wave’ (New Zealand Flax)
Phormium ‘Platt’s Black’ (New Zealand Flax)

Recommended Companion Plants

Sedum ‘Brilliant’ (Stonecrop)
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ (Beeblossom)
Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii (Mediterranean Spurge)
Pennisetum villosum (Feathertop Grass)
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Heat Zones 2 - 12
Climate Zones 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Xanthorrhoeaceae
Genus Phormium
Common names Flax, New Zealand Flax
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 12'
(30cm - 3.7m)
Spread 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spacing 12" - 36"
(30cm - 90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Salt, Rabbit
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Informal and Cottage, City and Courtyard
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Phormium (Flax)
Not sure which Phormium (Flax) to pick?
Compare Now

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