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Phormium Tenax — 12 Comments

  1. That was some very interesting information here. I imagine it’s good to find anything that can stand up to intense winds. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Very intresting to see one of very prolific and hardy native plants flourishing on youislands which appear to be as windy as or islandsin the Pacific. Yes stripping the green flesh off the fibres was lengthy and labour intenie, but it was all they had until European traders arrived.

  3. Thank you for this. Thank you for the post and the warnings. I have thought about getting some NZ flax, and still fancy some, but will have to consider well where to put it!

  4. My heavens can you imagine making fiber from those tiny leaves. Historical Flax was used here to produce Linen, which also is very labor intensive. In our neck of the world the Prehistoric Indians use Yucca plants for clothing. All very fibrous and intensive to create from.

    • D > The leaves aren’t tiny. On the larger plants they are about 3″ wide and up to 6ft long! If prepared correctly, each fibre can be that long, and there could be several hundred fibres in just one leaf. A lot of work: but they didn’t have many other options!

  5. How handsome these plants look – and how practical! I’ve never heard of New Zealand Flax before …. and am wondering if I should import some to our windy Northumbrian garden …..

    • D > I highly recommend that you at least try some, and see how they work for you. Best is to buy plants that are about a foot tall (they may be bigger plants with the leaves cut down to that length for posting). They don’t like competition when small, so best is to cover the roots wwith a much mat or the sods you cut out turned over. Water frequently until clearly putting out new growth (new leaves emerging from base). If you are wanting a wind-break, then look for a tall variety: Sundowner would be too small. We use different heights in tiers, so as to get an attractive effect. A warning, though: in storms the leaves do thrash about, so anything planted around a big plant needs to be either another phormium, or someting that retreats into the ground for the winter – like Crocosmia.

Your views are welcome!

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