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The Plant Guide

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New Zealand flax

Phormium tenax

FORM-ee-um TEN-aks
Phormium 'Rainbow River'

An excellent architectural specimen, New Zealand flax has a striking geometric shape and intriguingly colored foliage. Rigid, upright leaves to 10 feet long grow in a clump. Cultivars come in chocolate-brown or a mixture of cream, pink, and green stripes. In summer, this Phormium produces a 12-foot-tall spike of tubular red flowers.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsStunning focal point for the border, near buildings, or at lawn's edge.

CareGrow in fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Grow in a container for summer display where not hardy.

PropagationDivide in spring.

ProblemsLeaf spots sometimes occur.

  • Genus : Phormium
  • Zones : 10, 11, 9
  • Plant Height : 10 to 15 feet
  • Plant Width : 3 to 6 feet
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Foliage Color : Purple/Burgundy
  • Flower Color : Red
  • Characteristics : Showy Foliage
  • Bloom Time : Summer
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest

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