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Phormium tenax Variegatum


New Zealand flax

Creates a stunning specimen

A large, vigorous form of New Zealand flax with upright, sword shaped leaves, arching at the tips. The leaves are striped with shades of green, cream at the edges. The plant forms a large clump which will make a statement in the garden, either as a contrast to other shrubs or as a specimen. In summer tall dark stems appear carrying dark, red-black claw-like flowers which are both architectural and striking.


Plant in full sun or semi-shade in large beds and borders. Perfect to create a tropical effect.


 Any fertile soil. Best on heavy soil and clay and tolerant of fairly wet conditions. Cut off flower stems in autumn. Remove and dead or damaged leaves as required to maintain appearance.

The fibres from the leaves of New Zealand flax are used to make fabric, baskets, nets, ropes and a great variety of other uses

Plant details

In depth plant information

Property Value
Plant type Ornamental shrub
Flower colour
Foliage colour
Typically available April - September
Season of interest Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
Flowering July - September
Evergreen Yes
Plant height 100 cm - 150 cm
Plant width 100 cm - 150 cm
Fragrant flowers No
Hazardous No
Attracts bees Yes
Attracts butterflies Yes
Plant height in 5 years 100 cm
Medicinal No
Hardiness zone (?) H5

Will perform best in these conditions

Property Value
Soil type Sand, Loam
Light exposure Full sun
Soil drainage Well drained, Medium
Planting instructions

Water the plant in its pot thoroughly before planting – give it a good soaking. Prepare the area by digging a hole twice the size of the pot. Dig compost into the base of the hole. Remove the pot and position the plant in the hole, with the top of the rootball about level with the surrounding soil. Refill the planting hole with a mixture of garden soil and compost, firming as you go. Water in well and keep well watered during the plant's first year.

Planting site Flower border and beds, City garden, Coastal or drought resistant, Gravel garden

Typically available

From April to September