London (change)
14 messages
20/06/2014 at 13:15

Hi. I am not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination but for the last 10 years we have had a Norwegian Flax in our garden which was given to use by my mother inlaw.

I always thought it was just a green plant and it has never flowered, only producing thick long leaves.


We have just returned from a week on holiday to find a huge 10ft stalk has appeared from the centre of the plant with flowers starting to protrude right up the stalk.

It appears to be very heavy so I have tried to tie it and stake it to our fence to protect it.

I live in North East England and have been told that the plants rarely flower in the UK?

Any care tips etc would be greatly appreciated.


Matthew Platt


20/06/2014 at 13:22

Sounds like things have worked out perfect. 

You just need to take more holidays.

20/06/2014 at 13:34

How do i look after it though? Or do I just leave it and let nature do the rest? How often should I water it etc?

20/06/2014 at 13:42

I thought they were New Zealand Flax i.e. Phormium

20/06/2014 at 13:48

Yes that's right, Phormium. 

20/06/2014 at 13:54

Correct Fleurisa.

They can grow well in poor soils providing they are given regular granular feeds of a nitrogen based fertiliser. They also require full sun in a moist but well drained soil.

councils use them,a lot on city roundabouts because they provide such a quick and colourful foliage display. They are greedy plants so keep them well fed.

20/06/2014 at 13:59

Does it die back in the winter? If so give it a mulch as the plant roots will die if the temp drops below zero degrees if the winter. I see you have had it for 10 years so things appear to be ok.


20/06/2014 at 14:27

Ive never given it fertiliser. How often does it need watering and why has it taken 10yrs to flower?


20/06/2014 at 14:45

I think the warm winter we have had may have a lot to do with it. The plant obviously thinks now is the right time. Maybe the soil conditions and position aren't what's best for it. I'm really unsure why it has taken so long? 

Give it a feed once a week and keep an eye on how it responds.


20/06/2014 at 14:52

Thank you. Much appreciated

20/06/2014 at 15:13

They aren't really grown for their flowers as they aren't much to look at, more for the foliage.

I always thought the plants had to be a decent size to flower but as the ones at work which aren't very big are flowering, I think it is as Edd says the winter has affected them. I never fed mine and as you've had yours for 10 years I wouldn't do anything different.

20/06/2014 at 15:35

Phormiums flower, actually, quite commonly.  I have 4 or so varieties in flower now.  And they do so on quite small plants, according to their whim.

They are easy plants. Can be divided in spring....and those flower spikes do not need staking.  


20/06/2014 at 15:58

Thank you. This forum is great. It's like a horticultural QI.

20/06/2014 at 19:52

Hi MattyP: here in coastal SW Wales I've a NZ Flax in flower for the first time in 20+ years!! It's similar in stature to your own example pictured earlier. Enjoy!!

 *There are a total of four large spikes arising from the single 'stool' - it's tucked away in a shady, dampish corner between a garage (white painted West) and a 6' high stone wall immediately to the south. So you see that it's had a hard life so far & is thriving on total neglect!!


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