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Phormium tenax, commonly known as New Zealand Flax or Harakeke, is a striking and versatile evergreen plant native to New Zealand. 




  • Growth Habit: Phormium tenax is a clump-forming perennial plant with long, sword-like leaves that can grow up to 3 meters in height. The leaves arise from a central base, forming an architectural and dramatic display.
  • Leaves: The leaves of Phormium tenax are long, rigid, and strap-like, with a rich green color. There are also cultivars available with bronze, red, pink, or variegated foliage, providing a wide range of color options.
  • Flowers: In summer, mature plants may produce tall flower spikes that can reach up to 3 meters (10 feet) in height. The flowers are tubular and pendulous, with shades of red, orange, yellow, or green, depending on the variety.
  • Overall Appearance: Phormium tenax is appreciated for its bold, structural presence in the landscape, making it a popular choice for both formal and contemporary gardens.


Growing Conditions:

  • Sunlight: Phormium tenax prefers full sun to partial shade. It grows best in areas with ample sunlight, but it can tolerate some shade, especially in hot and sunny climates.
  • Soil: This plant thrives in well-draining soil, but it is adaptable to various soil types, including sandy, loamy, or clay soils. It can also tolerate a wide range of soil pH levels.
  • Watering: While established plants are relatively drought-tolerant, Phormium tenax appreciates regular watering, especially during dry spells. Avoid waterlogged conditions, as this plant does not tolerate overly wet soil.
  • Temperature: This plant is well-suited for temperate and subtropical climates. It can tolerate light frosts but may require protection in colder regions with freezing temperatures.
  • Maintenance: Phormium tenax is a low-maintenance plant. Remove dead or discolored leaves as needed to maintain its appearance. Mature plants may need dividing every few years to prevent overcrowding.


Phormium tenax is a popular ornamental plant used in a variety of landscaping applications. Its striking foliage and architectural form make it an excellent choice as a focal point in gardens or as a contrasting element in mixed borders. Additionally, its tolerance for coastal conditions makes it suitable for gardens near the sea. As a native New Zealand plant, Phormium tenax also provides habitat and food sources for local wildlife.



Phormium tenax (Harakeke)

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