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The Dwarf flax lily is an evergreen clumping perennial with pale green foliage, a stiff upright growth habit, 3-4 ft. tall and as wide. Leaves have sharply serrated margins; branched panicles of purple and yellow star-shaped flowers grow above the foliage in mid spring. Sometimes, colorful dark blue berries grow to 1/2 in. dia. and provide attractive accent value during summer.

This tough and attractive flax lily is native to southeastern Australia and Tasmania where it grows in moist soils within the shaded understory of eucalyptus forests. It grows mostly with a clumping habit, but can send out rhizomes to establish new plants and form small groupings. Dwarf flax lily is well adapted to Inland Empire gardens where it does best in full to part shade, in loam soils and with regular moisture. However, it has proven to be adaptable to heat, cold, sun and short periods of drought once established. Dwarf flax lily is a good choice for background plantings, borders, on banks and in containers.

Water Needs

The Dwarf flax lily is well adapted to partial shade as well as partially sunny locations on many types of soils and with regular summer water. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; summer water helps sustain its foliage character particularly when planted in sunny exposures.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 4

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 2x to 3x 3x to 4x 3x to 4x 3x to 4x 2x to 3x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 2" to 3" 3" to 4" 3" to 4" 3" to 4" 2" to 3" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 17"-24"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Perennial
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Clumping
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.
Width: 18 in. - 24 in.
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Purple
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Moist soil, Loam, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Morning sun, Moderate shade, Heat, Drought, All day sun, Partial sun
Function: Foundations, Container plant, Borders, Background plant, Small spaces


Divide or thin as necessary. Remove dead leaves to the base as they occur (D). Annually, between fall and spring, remove any older and more worn looking leaves at the base of the plant. Every two to three years, cut back to about two inches above the soil surface, also in fall to spring to encourage vigorous and refreshed new growth (10). Remove dead flower stalks in late summer (18).



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