Phormium Tenax (New Zealand flax)
New Zealand Flax, Phormium, is a very striking evergreen shrub with foliage that forms clumps of rigid sword like leaves between 1 and 3m long. Bronze red flowers on panicles up to 4m long in summer. Highly resistant to sea winds and forms an excellent windbreak. The seed looks as if it is covered in black foil, very shiney but papery too.
Position: full sun
Soil: fertile, moist, well-drained soil
Rate of growth: average
Flowering period: July
Flower colour: red
Hardiness: frost hardy
Towering spikes of tubular, red flowers emerge in summer above clumps of bold, sword-shaped, dark green leaves, with blue-green undersides. This New Zealand flax makes a magnificent feature plant for a large, sunny garden, protected from cold, drying winds. One of the largest varieties, it thrives particularly well in warm, coastal sites.
Garden care: Requires minimal pruning. In late spring remove any dead or damaged leaves and apply a balanced fertiliser and a mulch of well-rotted organic matter to stimulate vigorous new growth.