New Zealand flax | Phormium
These evergreen shrubs, members of the Phormiaceae, are native to New Zealand. Their robust, sword-shaped leaves grow in tufts. The tubularare borne in summer in panicles on leafless stems. There are also varieties with variegated leaves, green and white or green and yellow stripes. P cookianum has yellow or reddish-brown tubular flowers and with its leaves 1.5 in (5 ft) long it is slightly smaller than P tenax, which has red flowers and leaves 3 m (10 ft) long.
Variegated varieties do best in full sun while those with green leaves also grow in the shade. In summer themust always be kept moist. They all benefit from weekly applications of fertilizer.
New Zealand flax can over-winter in a light or dark place where the temperature must not exceed 10° C (50° F). During this period it should be watered sparingly. However, it will tolerate slight frost so that it may be left outdoors in a sheltered position in regions where the winter is mild. The rhizomes can easily be divided when repotting.