New Zealand flax is an excellent focal point for gardens as well as potted arrangements, and it is fairly easy to grow and care for. This hardy perennial features long, blade-like leaves, with a central stalk reaching up to twelve feet in height. It is a durable plant, able to endure drought and high winds, but it is still important to care for New Zealand flax correctly. New Zealand flax flourishes in warm, sunny locations, and rewards its owner with bright red flowers during the summer that attract hummingbirds.
Planting New Zealand flax in your garden begins in one of two ways. You can buy the plant itself, or the seeds can be purchased at a nursery. While seeds are much easier to transport, they will only begin to sprout in environments warmer than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, climate is an important factor to keep in mind when bringing home New Zealand flax seeds. Both the plant and the seeds should be planted in rich, moist soil. New Zealand flax requires a good deal of sunlight, so sunny or semi-shaded areas are best.
Location is also an important factor in caring for New Zealand flax. The plant grows best in dry, warm climates. Places such as California, Arizona, and Texas, which rarely experience frost, are ideal. In these areas, the plant will survive year round as an evergreen. In colder climates, the leaves will die off during the winter, but a protective layer of mulch will ensure the roots' survival during the winter and a regrowth during the spring. However, if temperatures drop below zero degrees during the winter, the plant roots will not survive.
It is important to keep young plants well watered, and protected from physical harm such as browsing deer and high winds. Once the plant is established, it requires a good deal less maintenance. Fully grown New Zealand flax can go for weeks without water, and is resistant to deer. Insects and snails enjoy munching on the thick leaves however, and if they are seen on the plant, a chemical spray should be applied immediately.
In terms of appearance, New Zealand flax can be planted in a garden or pot. For those gardeners looking to enjoy the plant's summer time blossoms, open gardens tend to be more conducive to flowering as opposed to a container. Dying or wilting leaves and flowers should be pruned at the base to foster new growth. If it is planted in an area that experiences frost during the winter, it's important to spread a layer of mulch to protect the roots.
Overall, New Zealand flax is an ideal plant for gardens and homes in warm, dry environments. A hardy plant, it does not require as much time and effort as other plants might demand. A bit more attention is required if planting New Zealand flax in colder climates. If temperature requirements are met, it makes a great addition to any garden.