NZ Flax, Mountain Flax, Swamp Flax, Harakeke.
Flower spikes rise above the plant and bear twisted looking flowers, to which birds are attracted for the nectar. Curiously, many of the red varieties don’t flower, however the purples, greens and yellows do.
20cm x 20cm
Phormium will grow just about anywhere. Although Phormium cookianum has the common name Mountain Flax, it is found at sea level and up to 1300m growing on cliff faces. Phormium tenax prefers damp conditions but is happy in coastal spots as well as forest swamps. They will grow in any reasonable soil, and will handle extreme heat and cold, salt winds, and wet feet. The coloured varieties could be considered slightly less hardy.
Little care is needed but you can do a few things to get the most out of them. Remove old and dead leaves for appearance, dividing and re-planted will keep them looking fresh. Some of the coloured varieties can get a leaf spot which can be sprayed out.
Phormium have many uses in any garden. The most popular use is in modern or native gardens where their form and colour provides interest especially if massed planted with other flaxes or grasses. They look particular good when massed planted and surrounded by a stone mulch. They make a great feature when planted in pots and put on the deck, up the stairs or even in the garden where the added height will make them a focal point.
Continue to Phormium 'Tricolour' or back to Grasses and Flaxes'.