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Description

The New Zealand flax is a highly common plant found growing in gardens and landscapes throughout the Inland Empire. It is the quintessential strap-leaf perennial that is available in many sizes and foliage colors and is often planted for contrast and accent character in parkways, mixed tree and shrub plantings, in containers and along walkways and borders.

Many cultivars of flax are available from nurseries and garden centers. One cultivar, P. 'Guardsman' is a large growing selection that provides vivid red and maroon foliage color. It can grow 4-6 ft. tall and slowly form large clumps. As with other New Zealand flax cultivars, it is best to avoid placement within hot and sunny summer exposures to minimize leaf burning. It is adaptable to many soil conditions and is a low maintenance, trouble-free plant.

Water Needs

The Guardsman New Zealand flax grows well throughout the Inland Empire in partial shade to sun and with moderate amounts of water throughout the year. 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 winter months marked by an asterisk (*) when 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; higher amounts of water will result in stronger springtime growth and summer foliage character.

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"

 
0"-3"
0"-3"
0"-3"
2"-3"
2"-3"
3"-4"
3"-4"
3"-4"
2"-3"
2"-3"
0"-3"
0"-3"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Perennial
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Robust, Clumping, Arching
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 5 ft. - 7 ft.
Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Foliage Color: Burgundy, Red
Flower Color: Burgundy
Flower Season: Summer, Fall
Soil Adaptations: Loam
Exposure Adaptations: Morning sun, Heat, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Raised planters, Parks and open space, Near pools and water features, Mass planting, Foundations, Foliage accent plant, Container plant, Civic spaces, Borders, Banks

Maintenance

New Zealand Flax is generally a lower maintenance plant in coastal areas but takes far more work to keep looking good inland. If growing, try to plant somewhere with afternoon shade or light overhead shade because leaves and leaf tips often burn in full direct sun in inland gardens during the summer. If this happens, significantly burnt leaves should be removed to the base and tip burnt leaves can be trimmed to clean up. When trimming strapped leaf plants including New Zealand Flax, make your cuts at a diagonal angle. This will keep a more natural look. Horizontal cuts across the leaf look funny (D, S). Remove dead leaves any time of the year as needed, and cut out spent flower stalks (5).

References

Associations

Plant Lists