New Zealand Flax, Coastal Flax

New Zealand flax can be grown along the seashore or as a houseplant.
Similar Topics:
sgn408_4b

sgn408_4b

Plant type: Herbaceous perennial
Botanical name: Phormium tenax
Hardiness: USDA Zones (7)9 to 10

Hardy to the West coast. Striking rigid, swordlike leaves provides an impressive vertical accent to any garden. Clump-forming. Available in different leaf colors, including green, brown, purple, red and yellow with contrasting leaf margins in yellow, pink or purple. Foliage can have rigid upright to gracefully arching habits. Where grown as a perennial, it will be evergreen. However, it can be a deciduous perennial in Zones 7 to 8, dying back to the ground in winter. Used as an annual in colder climates where it won't overwinter outside. Produces clusters of orange-red to red tubular flowers on sturdy stems. Blooms from spring to summer. May not bloom if planted in a container. Plant size ranges from one to six feet tall and one to eight feet wide.

How to use it: For dramatic effect, plant in masses or as a specimen. Use in containers or a sunny, mixed perennial border. Can be grown along the seashore. Good for xeriscaping. Houseplant. Fruits and leaf spikes can be used in flower arranging.

Culture: Tolerates a variety of site conditions, including dry and rocky soils. Plant in (ideal) full sun to shade; in hot, sunny areas, provide afternoon shade to prevent leaf scorch. It may be root hardy in USDA Zones 7 and 8 if provided with winter protection, including a thick layer of mulch, to help it overwinter. This means its foliage will die back to the ground and will come back next growing season. Propagated through seed and division. No serious problems with pests or diseases. May have problems with mealy bugs or rot if it sits in poorly draining soils for too long.

Special notes: Valued as a textural accent plant. A member of the Agave family (Agavaceae). Native to New Zealand. The genus name Phormium means "basket" in Greek, denoting its use in weaving. Leaf blades used in traditional Maori weaving. Deer resistant. Drought resistant. Fire resistant. Tubular flowers attract birds, especially hummingbirds.

Selected Cultivars and Species

  • Mountain flax (P. cookianum Syn. P. colensoi). Less rigid leaves that are green. Clumps are four to five feet tall and eight to ten feet wide.
  • 'Chocolate'. Hybrid. Features upright, chocolate brown foliage. Plant reaches four feet wide.
  • 'Maori Queen'. Hybrid. Offers striking pink streaks along the length of leaf blades. This variegation shines when backlit.
  • Next Up

    Fall Gardens Reach for New Heights With Tatarian Asters

    This late-blooming perennial flowers until frost.

    New England Asters

    Celebrate fall with a colorful bouquet of New England asters.

    Create a New Garden Border

    Plant a bed of mixed perennials for a colorful, easy-care garden.

    Propagating Plants: Dividing Perennials

    Use this method to propagate most herbaceous perennials and to rejuvenate large, tired clumps that no longer flower well.

    Colewort

    Colewort adds a bold texture and is great in a cottage garden.

    Perennial Plants

    Discover reasons why you should add perennials to your yard.

    Planting With Perennials

    Learn how to use perennials throughout your garden design. 

    African Lily

    There are many uses for the lovely African lily.

    Getting the Most Out of Your Perennials

    Learn how to select and then grow perennials in the garden.

    Perennials for Summer and Fall

    Get tips on which perennial plants are good through summer and into the fall season.

    1,000+ Photos

    Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

    On TV

    Flea Market Flip

    7:30am | 6:30c

    Flea Market Flip

    8:30am | 7:30c

    Flea Market Flip

    9:30am | 8:30c

    Flea Market Flip

    10:30am | 9:30c

    Rehab Addict

    11am | 10c

    Rehab Addict

    11:30am | 10:30c

    Fixer Upper

    12pm | 11c

    Fixer Upper

    1pm | 12c

    Fixer Upper

    2pm | 1c

    Fixer Upper

    3pm | 2c

    Fixer Upper

    4pm | 3c

    Fixer Upper

    5pm | 4c

    Fixer Upper

    6pm | 5c

    Fixer Upper

    7pm | 6c
    Tonight
    Tonight

    Beachfront Bargain Hunt

    8pm | 7c

    Mexico Life

    9pm | 8c

    Mexico Life

    9:30pm | 8:30c

    Island Hunters

    10:30pm | 9:30c

    House Hunters

    11pm | 10c

    Mexico Life

    12am | 11c

    Mexico Life

    12:30am | 11:30c

    Island Hunters

    1:30am | 12:30c

    Follow Us Everywhere

    Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.