Commonly known as New Zealand flax, Phormium is a large, clump-forming evergreen perennial grass with beautiful, sword-shaped leaves that gracefully arch towards the tips. The foliage is produced in a fan-shape arrangement from the base, making them different and distinct from Cordyline plants whose leaves grow in a rosette circling the top of the trunk. In summer, the richly-coloured, architectural foliage of mature plants is topped with panicles of tubular flowers held on dramatic, upright flower stalks.
Perfect for making a real architectural statement, Phormiums make a stunning focal point in borders or containers. They're useful for providing structural contrast to any garden and fit particularly well with contemporary or tropical-style planting schemes. Robust, easy to grow and tolerant of salt-laden air or pollution, they're happy in coastal or city gardens and can be combined with other purple and red-leaved varieties such as Berberis if you're looking to design beds on this colour scheme. Phormiums prefer a spot in full sun in a moist yet well-drained soil. They are fully hardy but benefit from a generous mulch to protect the roots before the onset of a hard frost and appreciate a feed twice a year if grown in containers.