The genus Phormium contains a couple of species of perennials from New Zealand that are grown for their large clumps of strap-like leaves and spikes of small, tubular flowers on leafless stems. Many cultivars have colorful or variegated foliage, ranging from green to red to bronze-purple. They are a strong structural presence in the garden. Grow as a border specimen, in containers, or in a coastal garden.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsLarge, evergreen leaves and architectural flower stalks.
CareGrow in full sun in fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Plants may be overwintered in a cold greenhouse or mulched heavily if left out in winter where not hardy.
PropagationDivide plants or sow seed at 55° to 64°F in spring.
ProblemsGenerally trouble-free, but leaf spots sometimes affect plants.