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Phormium tenax

Phormium tenax (Phormium tenax (New Zealand flax))

This monster is over 6' tall and although it has great architectural all-year round value I'm not sure if I like it!

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I know what you mean Spritz! Some plants although you understand their benefits just niggle as not being right

18 Dec, 2007


But how on earth would I even start to remove it???? Its leaves are like razors and as tough as leather, I don't think that my poor husband's trusty pickaxe would shift it either. So all in all, it will probably have to stay!

18 Dec, 2007


Errrrrr ......... tell your hubby you found out there is [ insert his favourite thing here] buried under the plant. Hand him spade and move out of the way ! Sit back, have a cuppa and plan what to plant there instead!
Well you never know it could work!!

Alternatively burn it down (like you can do with the pampas grass) and then just treat the root ball with herbicide or chop up and dig out!

I still like option 1!! lol

18 Dec, 2007


Hmmm - whatever happened to equality of the sexes? Seems like we men only get asked when it's cold/wet/heavy!!!
Seriously though, I removed one of similar size last autumn. The modus operandi I used was to first cut off all the leaves as near to their base as possible (this takes a long time in itself) but means you can then get at the rootball. Although not extensive, it will be heavy so dig around about 3/4 of it, then undercut it and rock the whole thing till it moves. Good luck.
If you leave it, you should know that 90% of the snails in your garden will use it as a hotel.

18 Dec, 2007


They are very welcome, Andrew, as long as they stay there and leave my precious plants alone! (maybe I should put a notice up to direct the thrushes in the right direction!)

18 Dec, 2007


Cold? Wet? Heavy? Sorry Andrew these words don't compute :o)

18 Dec, 2007


In that case mapel, you can cook all my meals, clean my house and do the washing and ironing for me too. Us single chaps can be quite domesticated in between doing all the heavy work ;-)

19 Dec, 2007


hi spritz - not going to get into the battle of the sexes! as my other half needs quite a lot of insentive to be dragged away from football, or rudby, or boxing ect..... let alone anything heavy or wet ect..and i do cook all his meals and clean but i do have one little peice of advice, if you do chop it right back, like Andrew said, i bet your local florist would be overjoyed to take all of the leaves off your hands, as they don't compost very well and they are like gold dust in floristy!

19 Dec, 2007


Are you serious? They are up to about 10 feet long! Maybe I should ask the florist first, before taking them in - What do you use them for in floristry?

19 Dec, 2007


yes spritz completely serious, especially this time of year when quite a lot of the flowers are poor quality and very expensive, we use much more folliege for arrangements particually large ones, pedistal arrangements, for big functions, swags, cascade arrangements for over a fire place ect... all of which do need long interesting folliege for which these are perfect. but then i would gues it would depend on the kind of work your local florist does. - so maybe best to check first. they also last for ages and can be wired and looped into very modern or tropical arrangements that can stand as big as 5 or 6 foot tall. but again it does depend on the type of work that the florist does, if they are quite a small shop that does mainly gift items they may not want them. - it's a shame you don't live near to us - i would defo take it off your hands! - living so close to london we do loads of big arrangements, texture is the key with these things. - and big structual flowers and folliege is a must as most are viewed from a distance eg;- front of the church for chrismas day, or big companies christmas doo's, posh resturants, even shopping malls, the list is endless and the shop where i work also does a lot with tropical flowers this time of year, because you get a lot of reds and golds in tropical flowers and they are a better quality and last so well, look great in christmas arrangements for a splash of colour amonst all of the berries and folliege - give a wow factor! phormium leaves are a must have in this sort of arrangement. we do use the traditional roses and carnations as well as all of this and you can also put these leaves in with roses obviously if they are 10ft long they would be cut down a bit, but they are so versitle! especially when a lot of the traditional english flowers are not at there best this time of year. would say it is worth a phone call spritz.

20 Dec, 2007


Thanks for the interesting info, majeeka. Problem is that I really don't have time or energy to deal with the Phormium before Christmas - we are going away to family - also, I have not finally decided to get rid of it! At the moment, our next project is to remove an ugly concrete slab path and replace it with old bricks in a herring bone pattern. I will need to rescue a lot of plants from each side of the current path, or husband will just bury them! I wouldn't let him do it until they were all dormant, so it's rather now or never....Main difficulty in doing this is the COLD! Temp today was at 0 degrees all day...I might well keep a record of this project and blog it so you can see what it turns out like. If/when I do deal with the Phormium I'll record that, too! Watch this space!

20 Dec, 2007


I find your monster...beautiful.

8 Oct, 2008

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Pictures by spritzhenry
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See who else is growing Phormium tenax (New Zealand flax).

See who else has plants in genus Phormium.

This photo is of "Phormium tenax 'Tricolour'" in Spritzhenry's garden

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  • Kay

    Gardening with friends since
    30 Apr, 2008

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