Flax – A native of New Zealand, the Maoris have used it for centuries for rope, baskets and clothing. It was also the basis of a substantial linen industry in the early 1900’s. New and exciting hybrids are extending the colour range from green / yellow through bronze to pink, red and white combinations.
About twenty hybrid forms are currently grown within New Zealand, with the nectar filled flowers produced by some varieties being an important source of food for New Zealand native birds such as the Tui.
It is now highly prized by floral designers for its versatility in arrangements. Its form can be changed from whole to ribbons and slits. Very long lasting; stem lengths up to 120 cm.
Store in buckets of fresh clean water to maintain flexibility for floral work.
Potting: These plants can only be grown outdoors where winters are mild; otherwise, they may be grown in containers and brought in during the winter months. When growing outdoors, they need deep, fertile, humus-rich, moist soil and a warm, sheltered, sunny location. Provide dry winter mulch if the winters get too cool. When cultivating in containers, they should be planted in two-thirds loam and one-third peat moss and decayed manure, with a bit of horticultural grit added. Rooted pieces should be placed in 8-inch pots in the spring, just before the plants begin growing. Keep them in a frost-free greenhouse or frame and when they are well rooted in these pots, transfer them to larger pots or tubs. They may be set outside during the summer and brought in before frost. They need plenty of water during the summer.
Propagation: These plants may be divided in the spring. It would be beneficial to plant the rooted pieces in large containers of loamy soil and keep them in a cold frame for a few weeks before planting them outdoors. Seeds may also be sown in sandy, peaty soil in a temperature of 60 degrees in January or February. They will grow to a decent size the first year.