New Zealand flax
- available to order from spring
- 2 litre pot
- Position: full sun
- Soil: fertile, moist, well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: July
- Hardiness: frost hardy (needs winter protection)
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.