Phormium: A Vivacious Plant with Distinctive Foliage

Introduction to Phormium

Phormium, also known as Flax, is a genus of perennial plants native to New Zealand. The plant has two main species, Phormium tenax and Phormium zelande. They both have strikingly beautiful foliage, making them a popular choice for gardeners worldwide. Phormium is a hardy plant that can withstand different growing conditions, making it an easy-care plant for both gardeners and landscapers.

Characteristics of Phormium

Feuillage is the most striking feature of Phormium plants. The foliage comes in various colors, shapes, and sizes, ranging from green, bronze, purple-red, to variegated green and white. The leaves are long and sword-shaped, and they grow in clumps, giving the plant an intricate and extraordinary display. The plant’s port is upright and can reach up to 3 meters in height, making it an excellent choice for creating an architectural structure in a garden.

Phormium is a vivace perennial plant that can live for several years. The plant blooms during summer, producing a tall, cylindrical spike of small flowers, which can either be cream, yellow, orange, or red, depending on the species. The flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Growing and Caring for Phormium

Phormium is an easy-to-grow plant and can adapt to various growing conditions, making it a flexible option for gardeners.

Soil: Phormium prefers moist and well-draining soil. The soil should be enriched with organic matter and mulched to conserve moisture.

Water: Phormium can tolerate both drought and regular watering. However, it’s essential to water regularly during the hot season to keep the plant healthy and maintain its foliage.

Sunlight: Phormium requires full to partial sunlight to thrive. Planting the plant in a spot that receives full or partial sunlight for most of the day will yield the best result.

Temperature: Phormium can thrive in cold temperatures, down to -8°c, and can also withstand heat.

Phormium requires minimal maintenance, making it a perfect choice for gardeners who want to save time and still have a beautiful garden. Prune the plant to remove dead or damaged leaves and flowers during the plant’s dormant period. Apply fertilizer to the soil during the growing season to promote healthy foliage.

Choosing the Right Phormium

Phormium comes in different colors, shapes, and sizes, making it easy to choose the variety that best suits your garden or landscape. Some of the popular varieties include the bronze Phormium tenax and the green with white variegation Phormium zelande. Brands such as Kings Plant Barn and Mitre 10 offer several varieties of Phormium that you can choose from.

FAQs on Phormium

Q: Can I grow Phormium in a container?

A: Yes, you can grow Phormium in a container. Ensure that the container is large enough to accommodate the plant and the soil. Also, ensure that the container has drainage holes to prevent water from pooling and causing root rot.

Q: Does Phormium attract pests and diseases?

A: Phormium is generally pest and disease-free. However, it can attract spider mites, scale insects, and mealybugs. Regularly inspect and treat the plant with appropriate insecticides when necessary.


Phormium is a captivating and versatile plant that can add an extra dimension to your garden or landscape. Its exotic foliage and hardiness make it a popular choice among gardeners worldwide. With minimal care, you can enjoy the beauty of Phormium for years to come.