Common Name(s): New Zealand Flax
USDA Hardiness Zone:
On mature plants, the flower stalks shoot up above the leaves and produce curving, tubular red or yellow blossoms that are very high in nectar and a hummingbird favorite. Seed pods form after the flowers bloom. Deadhead, if self-seeding is not desired.
Leaves can also be cut in the fall, for use in flower arrangements.
- Phormium ‘Bronze Baby’ - Bronze foliage. Grows to about 2' tall and 2-3' wide. Good for containers.
- Phormium ‘Duet’ - Dwarf (approx. 1'). Green leaves edged in cream. Very stiff leaf blades.
- Phormium ‘Jester’ - Bronze with green stripping. About 3' tall.
- Phormium ‘Sundowner’ - Green leaves with rosy-pink margins. About 6' tall and wide.
Phormium can easily be grown in containers. Choose a rich, organic mix over traditional potting soil and keep the plants well watered in summer’s heat. Don’t allow the plants to experience frost. Phormiums can be grown indoors, either as house plants or under lights. The prefer cool temperatures in winter, but lots of sunlight.
Maintenance: Divide plants in the spring. You can start new plants indoors by potting larger rhizome pieces and allowing them to grow a bit, before locating outdoors. Phormium can also be started from seed, although it needs a warm temperature of over 60 degrees F., to germinate.
Problems & Pests: Mealy bugs can infest plants and are hard to eradicate from inside the long leaves. Many times it’s easiest to just dispose of the infested plant.