February 8, 2023
Phormium Tenax - Flax

Phormium tenax, also known as New Zealand Flax, Common Flax Lily. It is part of the Hemerocallidaceae family of plants. It is an evergreen perennial plant. It is clump-forming. Phormium tenax is native to New Zealand.

Originally, they used this plant as fiber for ropes and textiles in Māori culture (indigenous Polynesian people in New Zealand). Nowadays it is more of an ornamental garden plant with an exotic flavor. It flowers in the summer. The flower is a spike with small dark-red, trumpet-shaped flowers. The flowers are protandrous.

Phormium Tenax

The leaves are like swords. They form a circular fan, a very striking look in the garden. In its native habitat, they consider Phormium tenax invasive or a weed.

Phormium tenax usually grows in seasonal swamps or flooded land. However, it does as well in well-drained soil. The birds are attracted to the flowers due to the larger than normal amount of nectar.

New Zealand Flax

You can propagate by seed as this is also its natural way of propagation. But the plant also reproduces through underground rhizomes.

How to grow Phormium tenax:

Grow Phormium tenax in the full sun or partial shade. Plant it in fertile well-drained soil. It is an easy-growing, low-maintenance plant. It is generally disease-free. Phormium tenax does not need pruning. Trim it to shape and remove damaged leaves in early spring.

Phormium Tenax
New Zealand Flax or Phormium Tenax at Bankside river walk in London, UK

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