I was at one of our main wholesale nursery suppliers last week leading clients on a tour for a planting design. One of the things that struck me while I was there was the amazing number of flaxes available.
For those not familiar with New Zealand Flax (Phormium sp.), they are a New Zealand native that are part of the Agave family. They grow best in the US along the coasts- throughout the Pacific Coast, Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast up to Virginia.
New Zealand Flax is a versatile plant for California gardens. It’s grassy strap like leaves help it fit well with a number of styles, especially Mediterranean compositions, and those using ornamental grasses.
Colors range from reds, purples, yellows, oranges and multicolors in sizes 18″ and below to 10′ and larger. Among those we use most are cultivars ‘Dusky Chief,’ ‘Yellow Wave,’ ‘Tom Thumb’ (Dwarf), ‘Jack Spratt’ (Dwarf) and a host of others. Cultivars are from two species Phormium cookianum and Phormium tenax.
Dwarf Tom Thumb Flax mixed with Ornamental Blue Oat Grass