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New Zealand Flax
New Zealand flax is a wonderful plant to use in place of an ornamental grass where you need more texture and a pop of color. This low-maintenance plant has no problem with heat in the summer, and it works great in containers. With many color options to choose from, you'll have a hard time finding a New Zealand flax you don’t like!
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Part Sun, Sun
3 to 8 feet
1 to 3 feet
garden plans for New Zealand flax
New Zealand flax is grown primarily for its colorful, architectural foliage. The striking lance-shaped leaves can come in many colors—the combinations are endless. This plant's large selection originates, surprisingly, from only two species. All of these plants came in foliage shades of green and a few bronze-red. Now, there are countless variegated forms in differing heights and mixes of color from pinks, whites, reds, burgundies, and every shade in between.
New Zealand Flax Care Must-Knows
New Zealand flax can be grown easily in any average, well-drained soil. These plants like to remain evenly moist if possible, but once they are established, they have no problem with drought every now and then. Depending on the parentage of a specific cultivar, however, some may require a little more water than others.
Generally, New Zealand flax prefer full sun. Full sun ensures plants have the most intense coloration, as well as the best, most dense habits. Some varieties, especially ones with large amounts of white foliage, will do better in part sun. These varieties are especially appreciative of shade from the hot afternoon sun, as they can be susceptible to leaf burn.
In many cases, the flowers of New Zealand flax are an afterthought. They are not as showy as the foliage itself and rarely appear on the plants. When they do, they are held on thin stems high above the foliage. The blooms themselves are generally insignificant, small blooms of usually yellow or red. These blooms are generally heavy producers of nectar, making them a favorite for hummingbirds and other nectar feeders.
As these plants continue to grow, keep in mind that they can get quite large, especially when in the ground. In containers, the size is usually a little more restrained, but they can still quickly fill the pots. If plants do become too large, they can easily be divided to make more new plants. Simply dig the plants up and cut them into smaller chunks or, if possible, gently separate clumps into pieces with several growths per plant. Then repot and water well.
These plants are highly sought after as tough and rugged accent plants for many different uses, especially their drought resistance. With that in mind, breeders are constantly coming out with improvements on old varieties. Factors like better disease resistance, brighter colors, and more drought tolerance are common things researchers are working toward. Because there are only two species in this plant family to work with, there are no groundbreaking new innovations happening with New Zealand flax.