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Hi, can anyone please advise whether I should cut off the long seed pods growing on my New Zealand Flax plants. Thanks.
I have some New Zealand Flax, that flowered profusely last year. I did not cut the 'poles' down. They are very sturdy. I kept the poles because they were dramatic and attractive.
I cut the poles down this Spring, to make the plant tidy (otherwise they would still be there). The plants have not flowered this year. I don't know whether cutting the poles down earlier, or removing the seed pods before the plants had set seed, would have helped.
Thanks for your reply Gary. I have not replied earlier because I have been waiting to see what would happen with my New Zealand Flax this year. Two more have produced huge flower heads on high poles but as the plant that did this last year suffered as a result I decided to remove them this year before they started running to seed. I have several different varieties of flax and only the spiky variety have produced these flowers. The red variety do not seem to do so. I have had them in my garden for approx 4 years, they were purchased in pots from various nurseries and garden centres and I think they would have been approx 5 years old as they were in fairly large pots. I have noticed that some of them are prone to mealy bug and worry about this. Another thing I tried from the seeds gathered last year was to plant them to see if they would grow, some of them germinated and grew about an inch but sadly died. I am going to keep trying though as there are hundreds of seeds.
Gary Hobson wrote (see)
... The plants have not flowered this year. I don't know whether cutting the poles down earlier, or removing the seed pods before the plants had set seed, would have helped...
Well, I got that wrong. Because some poles did subsequently shoot up and had flowers on them. I had looked for the poles, and couldn't see any, and the next minute they were there with flowers. The flowers are getting over now and looking a bit ropey....
Mine are the common green form, these tend to be more vigorous than the variegated varieties. I have had red and variegated ones in the past, but none of those have survived through severe Winters.
Yes, the flowers do not last long and then they turn brown and produce large seed pods. I do think all this process is not good for the original plant. The leaves turn yellow and the whole plant looks a bit sad. I shall send some pics so that the different varieties can be viewed. My green flax have a variegated cream borders and two of these have flowered. The other is a lower growing one which has some pink and cream on the green leaves. It is amazing the size of the flowers, I had to use loppers to cut them down as they were so woody and thick.
I'm surprised that seed formation would cause the leaves to yellow. I'd have thought that was some nutrient deficiency. I believe that they are greedy feeders (although I haven't actually fed mine).
Hi Gary, I have not fed my New Zealand Flax either and they are flourishing, but... one of them which has now flowered two years in succession has really been suffering. I am attaching two pics to show the degree of the problem, I have cut out all the yellow and dead spiky leaves and it seems to be trying to grow some leaves from the base.