If you’re looking for a tough and rugged accent plant that works either as a houseplant or outdoors, go for the flax lily. With swordlike, often variegated foliage, the flax lily is accustomed to droughts because it is native to the outback of Australia.
Gardeners favor the flax lily because it offers many different options of foliage textures and colors. While the regular species tends to come in a solid green, many of the hybrid varieties are available in an array of color variegations. Some of the most common foliage colors are a simple gray-green midrib with a contrasting bright white or gold edge. Other varieties boast stunning burgundy-blue foliage with a gray cast. Flax lily also offers small blooms. Some varieties have larger purple or deep-blue blooms born on long, wiry stems in airy clusters held well above the foliage. Several species have ornamental berries as well. The berries are bright blue and look stunning when found in clusters hanging above the eye-catching foliage.
Flax Lily Care Must-Knows
Flax lilies are extremely easy to grow and require little maintenance. When planting, remember this plant does not tolerate standing water and likes well-drained soil. It's quick to rot if planted in soggy conditions. While flax lilies are very tolerant of drought, for best results place in an area with even moisture.
These plants are tolerant of varying amounts of light. In order to encourage the most vigorous growth, plant in full sun to part shade. Variegated varieties will often fare slightly better when placed in part shade, because too much sun may bleach the color and sometimes even burn the leaves. Just about every variety will grow in shade but will often have a looser habit and more muted colors. Overall, plant growth is much slower when planted in full shade.
Related: Drought-Tolerant Garden Plan
In tropical areas, this hardy plant's leaves are semi-evergreen to evergreen. In areas of marginal hardiness, foliage may die back to the ground during cold spells and may need to be cleaned up a bit and trimmed back. The evergreen foliage is often held for long periods of time and will require the occasion removal of older, yellow leaves. Flax lily is susceptible to fungal leaf spot, but it is usually not too severe of a problem. Mealybugs and scale can also be an occasional concern for flax lily.
More Varieties of Flax Lily
Flax Lily Companion Plants
Talk about foolproof: Annual begonia is about as easy as it gets. It does well in a variety of conditions, but to keep it its most luxuriant best, give it light shade; rich, well-drained soil; and ample water. It also loves plenty of fertilizer, so be generous. Plant annual begonias in spring after all danger of frost has passed. No need to deadhead this flower unless you want to, it's "self-cleaning!"
A majestic plant, bear's breeches is like a living sculpture in the garden. It offers sturdy spires of white or pink blooms with papery purple bracts that make a dramatic statement, as does the rich-green, spiny-looking foliage. The plants tolerate poor, dry soil once established but need regular moisture to get started. In well-drained soil bear's breeches can spread to become a large colony, but it is not invasive.