Dwarf New Zealand Flax

26 Jul

Dwarf New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax), evergreen, clumping to slowly spreading growth to 6 feet, flowers on 4-6 ft. stalk, leaves vary in color from white and yellow to green, deep red, bronze to chocolate, tolerates any soil, sun to part shade, drought tolerant, deer resistant, strong vertical effect.

From New Zealand, this dramatic plant has many swordlike evergreen leaves that grow in a fan pattern; make good garden focal points. The many variegated selections provide year-round color in perennial and shrub borders, on hillsides, in seaside plantings, near swimming pools. Cool weather intensifies foliage colors. On established plants, branched clusters of tubular flowers appear in late spring or early summer, rising to twice the height of the foliage clump in some kinds. Nursery plants in containers are deceptively small; when you plant, allow enough room to accommodate a mature specimen. Cut out flower stalks when blossoms wither.As leaves age, colors fade; cut out older ones as close to base as possible to maintain best appearance. On variegated sorts, watch for reversions to solid green or bronze; remove reverted crowns down to root level before they take over the clump. Clumps can remain in place indefinitely. To increase plantings, take individual crowns from clump edges; or divide large clumps.

Many of these plants become much too large for average Bay Area gardens – be sure to select dwarf varieties in most cases.

 

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