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Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 47 acres of botanical bliss fronting the Pacific Ocean


Tough plants for every situation!

Botanical Name: Phormium spp. Common Name: New Zealand Flax , Mountain Flax Family: Agavaceae 

Description: Clumping evergreen grass-like plant from New Zealand.

There are many variegated selections ranging from green, bronze, yellow, pink, red, and creamy white. Striping and edging create visual interest in the garden. The plant can provide year round color in beds, borders and slopes for the home gardener and commercial landscaper. Cool weather can intensify colors and in hot climates afternoon shade prevents burning. Flowers on older plants are interesting and rise above the plants as do the seed pods. Cultivars range in size from 18 inches to 6 feet or larger. Variegated cultivars can revert back to green and bronze.

Cultivation: This perennial is tolerant of seaside conditions and will take most soil conditions. Cut out older leaves close to the bottom to maintain best appearance. Moderate to occasional watering. Hardy to 15/20 degrees F.

Common Problems: Root rot can be a problem if poor soil drainage occurs. Reverted crowns should be removed as close to the root level as possible if this occurs. It is not prone to other pests or diseases. Resources: Monterey Bay Nursery, Inc Suncrest Nurseries, Inc Sunset Western Garden Book

Submitted by Master Gardener Terri Bogue, 2007.