- Author: Mary B. Gabbard
Sitting at Starbuck’s, listening to my friend lament about her overgrown New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax), a blog idea comes to mind. She reports being tired of all the brown, dead leaves and just wants to “hack-it”. Rather than have her take these desperate measures, I thought I could offer some tips to possibly save her flax. While the best time to prune her flax is late fall after the bloom, a little clean up might be in order. What works best for me when pruning my flax (Linum flavum: Golden Flax), is a pair of very sharp hand pruners. Gloves are also a good idea due to the fact that the New Zealand Flax has very tough, fibery leaves, which were at one time used by the Maori people to make clothes. Begin pruning by cutting off any flower spikes. Then proceed by removing any dead, browned or damaged foliage as close to the base of the plant as possible. Depending on the size of your flax, be prepared for a long day of cutting. It is not an easy task to cut the dead leaves, but you will definitely see the fruits of your labor when new leaves begin to grow back.