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Phormium tenax var. atropurpurea Plant Care Reminders

Purple new zealand flax

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General Information

  • Instruction By Kat Malstead
    Notes Truly a spectacular architectural plant for a perennial garden, Phormiums add splash, drama, and elegance to any landscaping with their arching, strappy leaves which fold and change directions midway up the blade. This group of atropurpurea Phormiums has a clumping habit, and can grow taller than the suggested height- up to 8\' tall with 3\"-4\" wide blades!- if they are happy. With care, they are long-lived. They need moderate watering, good drainage, and full sun to light shade. In the colder zones, they will need winter protection, but these are a bit hardier than the hybrids. They are hardy to around 10* F. Some cultivars will revert back to green, it is best to cut these rogue blades out of the plant. Older, established plants can flower a deep lovely red, and are quite attractive to hummingbirds. Nice dark purple color is a wonderful anchor piece for a perennial garden.
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Plant Care Instruction

  • Scroll down or click on any month for plant care instructions
    • January
    • February
    • May
    • June
    • July
    • August
    • September
    • October
    • December
    January
    1. Protect

    If there is a hard freeze expected, take steps to protect your Phormium.
    February
    1. Protect

    If there is a hard freeze expected, take steps to protect your Phormium.
    2. Propagate

    Division of roots.
    May
    1. Treat for Pest/Disease

    Pick off any slugs & snails, or surround the plant with diatomaceous earth.
    2. Transplant

    After danger of frost.
    June
    1. Buy

    Usually available in the early summer.
    2. Plant

    While normally I wouldn\'t plant a plant during these hotter parts of the season, Phormium likes it hot, and planting now will allow it to establish itself well enough to survive any Winter event with protection.
    3. Fertilize

    A nice well-balanced organic fertilizer will do Phormiums well by feeding both the roots & the foliage.
    4. Pest/Disease Inspection

    Check for mealy bugs & snails, otherwise, a very pest-free plant.
    5. Treat for Pest/Disease

    Pick off any slugs & snails, or surround the plant with diatomaceous earth.
    July
    1. Buy

    Usually available in the early summer.
    2. Plant

    While normally I wouldn\'t plant a plant during these hotter parts of the season, Phormium likes it hot, and planting now will allow it to establish itself well enough to survive any Winter event with protection.
    3. Water

    Check for water needs, water when necessary.
    4. Pest/Disease Inspection

    Check for mealy bugs & snails, otherwise, a very pest-free plant.
    5. Treat for Pest/Disease

    Pick off any slugs & snails, or surround the plant with diatomaceous earth. If Mealy bugs are present, spray with Neem oil.
    August
    1. Fertilize

    A nice well-balanced organic fertilizer will do Phormiums well by feeding both the roots & the foliage.
    2. Water

    Check for water needs, water when necessary.
    3. Pest/Disease Inspection

    Check for mealy bugs & snails, otherwise, a very pest-free plant.
    4. Treat for Pest/Disease

    Pick off any slugs & snails, or surround the plant with diatomaceous earth. If Mealy bugs are present, spray with Neem oil.
    September
    1. Water

    Check for water needs, water when necessary.
    2. Treat for Pest/Disease

    Pick off any slugs & snails, or surround the plant with diatomaceous earth.
    October
    1. Mulch

    Mulch well with an insulating mulch just after the first frost.
    December
    1. Protect

    If there is a hard freeze expected, take steps to protect your Phormium.
    2. Special requirements

    Cold protection is just about the only special consideration this plant requires.
  • Buy

    When's the best time to buy this plant? When can you buy these from seed (if you can)? When is it usually available? What are things to look for when you're buying it? Or anything other tidbit of information you can share!

    June

    Usually available in the early summer.

    July

    Usually available in the early summer.

    Plant

    When's a good time to plant this plant or bulb? Any special planting instructions?

    June

    While normally I wouldn\'t plant a plant during these hotter parts of the season, Phormium likes it hot, and planting now will allow it to establish itself well enough to survive any Winter event with protection.

    July

    While normally I wouldn\'t plant a plant during these hotter parts of the season, Phormium likes it hot, and planting now will allow it to establish itself well enough to survive any Winter event with protection.

    Fertilize

    When should you fertilize this plant? Which kind of fertilizer do you recommend? Should you use different fertilizers at different times of year?

    June

    A nice well-balanced organic fertilizer will do Phormiums well by feeding both the roots & the foliage.

    August

    A nice well-balanced organic fertilizer will do Phormiums well by feeding both the roots & the foliage.

    Water

    Is there a time to reduce or increase watering? Any special requirements? Things to avoid during certain times of the year?

    July

    Check for water needs, water when necessary.

    August

    Check for water needs, water when necessary.

    September

    Check for water needs, water when necessary.

    Prune

    When's a good time to prune this plant? How about deadheading, pinching back, trimming or any other grooming? Any special requirements?

    July

    Prune out

    Mulch

    Does this plant need to be mulched? Are there specific types of Mulch which are better for this plant? How much?

    October

    Mulch well with an insulating mulch just after the first frost.

    Protect

    When and how should you protect this plant from birds, deer, rabbits? Does this plant need be covered, or wrapped or painted or moved?

    January

    If there is a hard freeze expected, take steps to protect your Phormium.

    February

    If there is a hard freeze expected, take steps to protect your Phormium.

    December

    If there is a hard freeze expected, take steps to protect your Phormium.

    Pest/Disease Inspection

    What are the common problems this plant will face and when should you look for them to appear?

    June

    Check for mealy bugs & snails, otherwise, a very pest-free plant.

    July

    Check for mealy bugs & snails, otherwise, a very pest-free plant.

    August

    Check for mealy bugs & snails, otherwise, a very pest-free plant.

    Treat for Pest/Disease

    How do you treat the common problems for this plant? What products or concoctions or natural means do you use? Any special requirements?

    May

    Pick off any slugs & snails, or surround the plant with diatomaceous earth.

    June

    Pick off any slugs & snails, or surround the plant with diatomaceous earth.

    July

    Pick off any slugs & snails, or surround the plant with diatomaceous earth. If Mealy bugs are present, spray with Neem oil.

    August

    Pick off any slugs & snails, or surround the plant with diatomaceous earth. If Mealy bugs are present, spray with Neem oil.

    September

    Pick off any slugs & snails, or surround the plant with diatomaceous earth.

    Transplant

    When's the best time to dig up and transplant this from one spot to another? (This is different than planting). Any special requirements?

    May

    After danger of frost.

    Propagate

    When's a good time to divide, take cuttings, layer or propagate this plant. Any special requirements?

    February

    Division of roots.

    Special requirements

    Any other requirement for this plant? Is there anything that doesn't fit into the other care categories?

    December

    Cold protection is just about the only special consideration this plant requires.

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