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i have a 6 year old new zealand flax.  it has never flowered.  this year the leaves are yellowing and don`t last long, the leaves are yellowing either halfway down the leaves or at the tips.

can anybody offer advice on how to save my new zealand flax and to stop the leaves yellowing



Maggy - Do you think all the rain we have had may have something to do with the leaves going yellow? 

Pam x

Hi Maggie.I had a similar problem last year.  I have been told that it was frost that did the damage. I removed the dead or yellowing leaves and the plants recovered eventually.


Hi, are all the leaves yellowing or just the older ones?  If it's the older ones I wouldn't worry - this is natural as the older leaves die off to be replaced by younger ones.  The nutrients from the dying leaf will be going back into the plant, a bit like when you leave daffodil leaves to die off.  When the a leaf is totally yellow you can cut it off.  

Phormiums are tough and will usually cope ok with wet conditions and respond well to a bit of 'benign neglect'.  I know of a 'plantation of phormiums' that have survived totally un-nurtured in the damp and shady quadrangle of an art school for years and years and years, and they flower every year.  

As for flowering - they usually flower best when the roots are a bit constricted, like agapanthus.  Try a potash-rich feed next spring to see if that encourages them .

Pottie Pam

Maggi, I had 4 big clumps over 10 years old. The bronze one that is not supposed to be so hardy. Two died in different years for no apparent reason. The leaves still looked alive but the roots rotted off. They weren't in wet conditions.They do get dead leaves underneath and I pull them off in the Spring. I've got one flower spike on one of the remaining ones. They seem to flower better in hot summers.




i have had mine in the garden for the last 6 years the dark brown one.. and this is only the second year it has flowered.. they grown native in NZ my sis says and their weather is tropical and constantly wet nad humid through the winter and hot in summer.. i think they like it wetter with heat..

Hi mag give bray. Phormiums are easy to split....pull them apart and replant. Best to do in spring but I do it in summer too. They do die out a bit in the meddle and have a lot of dead leaves there that can rot and rot the whole plant. Re flowering. I often have the new splits flowering too. To keep Phormiums young with brightest foliage they need to have old leaves cut back to ground level. I have several varieties that flower well looking good with or without their flowers

I have grown many New Zeland Flax from seed.  It so easy to do - Collecting the seed pods once dry and just starting to split;  simply sprinkle these onto damp potting compost they will grow in the warmth of a green house or a warm window shelf.  The joy of growing them on means you always have replacement plants in a pot somewhere around your garden and usually have many plants to give to family and friends. A good feed of comfrey in spring also helps with growth (also grow your own to produce good quality plant food for next to nothing).


Drainage is key for phormiums. Water's only an issue if they're sitting in it long term. I have lots of them and there's no shortage of the wet stuff here! 

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