The Q&A Archives: Watering schedule for New Zealand Flax

Question: Hello,

I'm wondering about a good watering schedule for the New Zealand Flax plant. I just purchased (3) of them in 5 gal. containers to be put in large terracotta pots in front of my house which gets lots of afternoon sunshine. I didn't transplant them, just popped the plants contained in the common black 5 gal. containers right into my large pots which have drainage hole in bottom. Right now the weather is rather cool for's only about 70 degrees this week and it should be this range for the duration of the fall & then start to cool down more into the 60's. The nursury where I purchased them said these plants prefer to dry out between watering, so what would be your best advice to keep these gorgeous plants happy?

Thanks for your reply in advance,


Answer: It's true, Phormium prefers soil on the dry side, but you'll want to take into consideration that your plants are still in nursery containers and their roots are restricted; they can't grow down deep to find moisture in the soil. They will depend upon you to supply enough moisture to keep them healthy. Another problem with containerized plants is that they dry out quickly - faster than you might imagine - and sometimes air pockets develop within the root mass so that even when you water thoroughly, the air pockets may remain. So, to water your plants well, soak them by applying water slowly so it has a chance to trickle down and wet the entire root mass. Do this when the top inch of potting soil has dried out. This may require once a week or twice a week applications of water, depending upon the weather. If you're able to lift the pots periodically and immerse them in a large container of water, you'll help drive out air pockets within the container. Leave them in the water until no more air bubbles escape, then allow them to drain before setting them back into the terra cotta pots.

Best wishes with your new plants!

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