Phormium 'Bronze Baby'
New Zealand flax
- Position: full sun
- Soil: fertile, moist, well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: July
- Hardiness: frost hardy (may need winter protection)
With their arching, strappy, sword-shaped leaves, Phormiums make a dramatic statement in the garden. Originating from New Zealand, where their fibre has traditionally been used in the same way as hemp or sisal, they are versatile evergreen plants that tolerate a range of conditions and look at home in a variety of different planting schemes. They have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more colourful vareities being introduced . This is a compact variety, with deep purple-bronze leaves that make dramatic punctuation marks in a sheltered, sunny patio or courtyard. The dark leaves are beautifully offset by gravel, too. In hot summers, a spike of tubular, red flowers will shoot up from the centre, followed by sturdy seed-heads.
- Garden care: Requires minimal pruning. In late spring remove any dead or damaged leaves and apply a balanced fertiliser and a mulch of well-rotted organic matter to stimulate vigorous, new growth.
The trick to achieving the tropical effect is good preparation and dense planting, vivid foliage, fiery flowers and striking contrasts. The jungle garden is a place for theatrical planning and planting. If you don't have room or the inclination to turn yRead full article