Here';s the full "flax"! Quintessentially Kiwi, the New Zealand Phormiums or Flaxes are an invaluable piece of our horticultural history. Highly valued by Maori for medicinal purposes and of course used by them for weaving many useful items, the most famous of which is the kete or basket.
Actually the word Phormium comes from the Greek "phormos" which relates to baskets. Flax was also one of New Zealand';s first exports. The fibre was used for making twine and rope and was highly valued by the British Navy. There are two species of New Zealand Flax - Phormium tenax or Harakeke which is the larger of the two and Phormium cookianum or Wharaiki.
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Flax plants are actually a large perennial herb though we tend to use them in landscaping as we would a shrub. They are incredibly hardy and adaptable and very easy to grow. The long leathery sword like foliage has an attractive arching habit and comes in a myriad of colour choices. The colour of the red varieties is more intense if the foliage is protected from afternoon sun.
The rigid flower stalks stand proudly above the foliage in summer and once mature (when they turn bronzy red) are a magnet for birds. The native Tui';s beak fits perfectly into the shape of the Phormium flower. It is great fun to watch them as they apear to gorge themselves into an almost drunken state on the nectar; definitely one of my favourite times in the gardening year. Phormiums also grow well in a container and there are some neat dwarf varieties which are well suited to this purpose. They must be well watered if container grown as Phormiums do not like to dry out completely. The only maintenance they need is the occasional tidy up of old foliage and flower heads.
If you have a tough, hard-to-develop site or a bank that needs retaining, then consider a mass planting of Phormium. They will do the job for you very well and in an undemanding fashion. Fabulous along stream banks or around ponds, perfect used amongst large rocks or simply use as a foliage feature in your border or shrubbery. Their form, texture, colour and graceful habit are guaranteed to please.
Flax. Guardsman features bronzy burgundy leaves, bright red along the margins. The strong structural element and rich colour delivers an impact whether in container or in the landscape. Drought resistant. Evergreen
Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1m
Native Flax. Little 'Jack Spratt' will not get fat as it is a delightful dwarf flax with narrow upright bronze-red leaves. Looks particularly good group planted. Tough and hardy and quite well groomed. Plant in sun or part shade. Evergreen.
Colour: Brown Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 0.3m x 0.3m
Phormium Jack Spratt
Current Stock Height: 40/50 cm ?
Container: 2l ?
New stock arriving shortly. Pre-order now. Estimated price $19.99 each. Payment when stock arrives.
This is just a fabulous flax that has won much admiration both in NZ and world wide. The bright pink arching leaves are edged attractively in green. Looks stunning group planted or make a simple statement by planting in colour co-ordinated container. Easy to grow. Evergreen.
Colour: Brown Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
This is just a fabulous flax that has won much admiration both in NZ and world wide. The bright pink arching leaves are striped attractively in green. Looks stunning group planted or make a simple statement by planting in colour co-ordinated containers. Easy to grow. Evergreen.
Colour: Brown Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
Native. This delightful little NZ Flax has a strong band of pink through each arching sword of foliage. Nice compact habit making 'Pixie' a good choice for a rockery or container. Easy to grow and tough as anything. Evergreen. PVR FLX029.
Colour: Brown Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 75cm
Native. A beautiful Flax with luxuriant, unfading rich purple-black swords of foliage that form a neat clump. Equally fabulous in the garden or a container and so easy to grow. Sun to part shade and soil that does not completely dry out in summer will keep this Flax looking good. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow / Red Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
An ultra compact Phormium with unique contrasting minty green foliage mixed with chocolate brown. Great for low borders or mass planted for colour and effect. Remove older foliage as required. Evergreen.
Habit: Compact clump Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x 40cm
Phormium Stripy Mist
Container: 1.9l ?
New stock arriving beginning of September, 2020. Pre-order now. Estimated price $21.99 each. Payment when stock arrives.
Native. A very attractive Flax with arching, broad, sword like leaves in tones of bronze-green with pink margins that gradually fade to cream. Overall has a pink tone so nice to combine with grey or burgundy foliage. Plant in sun or semi-shade. Hardy, vigorous and evergreen. RHS AGM.
Colour: Brown / Yellow Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1m
Native. The term 'tenax' means strong and tough and this NZ Flax certainly is all of that. Broad swords of green foliage form strong clumps that are perfect for mass planting along stream banks, around ponds or naturalising in the landscape. Tolerant of just about anything. Evergreen.
The summer flowers are much loved by birds especially the native Tui whose beak is perfectly formed to gather nectar from the blooms.
Colour: Brown Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 2m
Native flax. A very handsome flax that will provide year round colour with it's brilliant gold, cream and green striped leaves. Looks great in semi-shaded areas. Tolerant and hardy, withstanding most conditions. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1m x 1m