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Phormium tenax Phormium tenax

Common Name(s):

  • New Zealand Flax
Phonetic Spelling
FOR-mee-um TEN-aks
Description

Phormium tenax, commonly called New Zealand flax, is native to New Zealand. It is an evergreen, clump-forming tender perennial that is grown for its attractive foliage.  It grows in average, well drained soil in full sun to partial shade.  It makes a good container plant, providing height and color contrast. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: mealybugs and slugs. Leaf spot may damage the foliage.

Cultivars:
  • 'Guardsman'
  • 'Mao'
  • 'Mat's Merlot'
    Deep dark, almost black leaves
Tags:
#container plant#salt tolerant#colorful leaves#colorful foliage#colorful#accent plant#patio
Cultivars:
  • 'Guardsman'
  • 'Mao'
  • 'Mat's Merlot'
    Deep dark, almost black leaves
Tags:
#container plant#salt tolerant#colorful leaves#colorful foliage#colorful#accent plant#patio
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Phormium
    Species:
    tenax
    Family:
    Asphodelaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    New Zeland
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is highly salt tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Ornamental Grass
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full Sun (Direct sunlight 8+ hours a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight (2-4 hrs) for only part of the day
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Flower:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Description:
    Panicles of dark red flowers appear well above the foliage atop stout, rigid flowering spikes (to 12’ tall) in summer.  Plants grown in containers arely flowers
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Rigid, sword-shaped, linear, bright green leaves (3-9’ long) in erect clumps.  Leaf margins and midribs are narrowly edged with red-orange.  Leaves are creased down the middle and folded into a v-shape.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Salt