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Phormium tenax - 'Purpureum' (Flax Lily)

Type Grass, Evergreen
Form Spiky Foliage / Spiky Upright Form, Architectural Form
Size Large Border / Screening Plant (1.8 to 3m height)
Colours Purple Foliage
Care Some Maintenance Required - Tough Plant
Hardiness Frost hardy, Seaside Friendly
Growth Fast Growing Plant
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Phormium tenax Description

Phormium is a great structural plant, with purple sword like foliage contrasting well with mixed plantings. Looks good beside water, in gravel, or in a container; but it needs space reaching up to 3m tall by 2m


Strengths, Weaknesses & Design Usage


Strengths of Phormium tenax:

  • All round tough plant suitable for problem areas
  • Ideal for fast growing screening
  • Provides valuable winter interest
  • Evergreen foliage for all year round colour and screening
  • Architectural plant – ideal as a ‘stand out’ plant
  • Suitable for exposed coastal planting
  • Attractive form or foliage for all year interest
  • Tolerates full sun and sandy, drought-prone soils
  • Tolerates heavy clay soils

Weaknesses of Phormium tenax

  • Invasive top growth
  • Does not produce showy attractive flowers

Design & Plant Use for Phormium tenax:

  • Fast growing evergreen plant ideal for screening
  • Evergreen plant with attractive foliage for winter interest
  • Plant for extreme coastal screening
  • Architectural plant with dramatic foliage suitable for hot dry spot
  • Ornamental grass ideal for drift planting in a sunny spot

View all the plants listed in Genus Phormium

View other types of grasses with purple foliage


Common Missspellings: Formium, Phormeum, Formeum, Phormiam, Phormuim