The Q&A Archives: Burn-proof Phormiums

Question: Hi,

I had a question about Phormium 'Platt's Black'. Living in the the valley it's important to make sure what I plant grows okay. I've been told that certain types of phormium will burn when in direct sun while others will do just fine. Will 'Platt's Black' do okay on a southwest corner or is there another variety that I should use?

Thanks for your time,


Answer: Phormium, or New Zealand Flax, originated in New Zealand. The toughness of this plant is evidenced by the variety of its habitats, from beaches, river mouths, on coastal cliffs with salt sea spray, to alpine lakes. It grows well in Phoenix, AZ and Palm Springs, California. It should grow well in Visalia, too. For absolute success, be sure to prepare the soil by adding organic matter before you plant your Phormium. Organic matter will ensure good drainage, which is important to the health of your plant. I'd recommend planting in the fall or early spring months so your Phormium will have a few weeks of cool weather to become established. Once the roots are well established, the plants should have no problem dealing with hot summer sunshine. Best wishes with your new plants!

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