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Perennials: Phormium tenax 'Jack Spratt'

Botanical name: Phormium tenax 'Jack Spratt'

Common name: Flax, New Zealand 'Jack Spratt'

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created by:
chief cultivator

Mercer island, Wa

at a glance

Soil: damp, neutral, sand
Zones: 7a thru 11b

bird attracting, drought tolerant

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description for "Perennials: Phormium tenax 'Jack Spratt'"

New Zealand Flax 'Jack Spratt' is extremely versatile. The plant will tolerate wet or dry conditions and almost any soil type. Tolerant of heat, coastal wind, salt spray and desert heat. Half hardy to nearly hardy in most Northern Hemisphere regions. A marvelous plant for garden planing and exciting in a tub or pot. Valued for the dramatic effect of their stiff, vertical leaves and reddish-purple foliage color. In summer, they produce panicles of flowers that attract nectar-feeding birds. The fiber of these flaxes has been used commercially but is now largely confined to traditional Maori crafts. Grow in fertile, moist but well drained soil in full sun. Where marginally hardy, provide a deep, dry mulch in winter or overwinter indoors in a cold greenhouse. Red panicles can be removed if unwanted to promote continual production of the more ornamental leaves. Clumping growth habit with foliage fanning out. Sun or light shade. Jack Spratt is a shorter cultivar that has a more practical use in the garden than the older, larger introductions.

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