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New Zealand flax, a grass with stunning colors

New Zealand flax

New Zealand flax is a fantastic plant with a generous and colorful tuft.

Key New Zealand flax facts:

Name: Phormium
Family: Agavaceae
Type: perennial

Height: 6.5 feet (2 meters)
Exposure: sunny
Soil: well-drained

Foliage: evergreen – Bloom: June to August

Planting New Zealand flax

Planting New Zealand flaxIdeal spot for planting New Zealand flax? A sunny one. Plant it in spring. Perfect for a terrace pot, it also does wonders as a garden edge. Its low hardiness implies it might struggle with negative temperatures (coldest 21°F or -6°C). Pot cultivation and a cozy winter shelter would do it good.

  • Container planting? All you need is potting soil.
  • In-ground planting? Mix potting soil + garden soil.
  • Regardless, soil needs to be well-drained.
  • Propagation through division after blooming come fall.

Caring for New Zealand flax

New Zealand flax in a potAfter blooming, chop flower stems back very short.

  • Remove leaves only when they’ve withered away.
  • Give the plant base some winter protection with a healthy mulch of dried leaves.
  • If in a pot, bring it in it away from frost, but not in a heated room.

Watering New Zealand flax:

Wait till soil dries out well between waterings, especially for pots and containers. In the open ground, quench its thirst with abundant water when it’s hot, particularly during the first two years.

Learn more about New Zealand flax

Uses of New Zealand flaxBoasting a splendid clump, New Zealand flax makes a stunning bushy perennial, adapting especially well to potted growing on your terrace or balcony, particularly if winters are cold. Depending on the variety, foliage comes in shades of purple, bronze, green, and sometimes striped. True to its name, this plant hails from New Zealand.

You’ll find it a lot in bushy and marshy areas of New Zealand. New Zealand Flax got highly utilized (and still is) by Maori for various uses like making baskets or clothing. Even its roots have disinfectant properties.

Smart tip about New Zealand flax

A mineral mulch brings out beauty in this colorful perennial.

Images: CC BY 2.0: K M, K M, CC BY-SA 2.0: Megan Hansen; Public Domain: Bernard Spragg
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