Group Flax to create a splash of bright colour from June to September. Fill a pot with, mixing pinks with reds or plant the brilliant blue on its own. Yellow Flax will add late colour to a rock garden.
Linum usitatissum, anwith bright blue , is one of the oldest and, at one time, most important economic plants known to man. It has been grown since 5000 BC and used by Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Hebrews; the to make linen and the for linseed oil and cattle . When roasted it can also be eaten by man. It has been used medicinally as a mild laxative and an anti-inflammatory and soothing mixture.
Flexes are twiggy but dense plants that vary in size from 15cm (bin) in the tiny White Flax, (L. salsloides), to nearly 60cm (2ft) in the wonderful brilliant blue species
L. narbonense. Both are perennials. In between these come L. flavum the perennial Yellow Flax 30— 45cm (12-18in) with grey-greenand funnel-shaped, golden yellow flowers from mid to late summer, and L. grandiflorum 38-45cm (15-18in), an which has slender leaves and large five-petalled flowers in shades of rich red and brilliant pink from June to August. The other annual L. usitatissimum grown for linen has blue flowers that bloom through June and July.
- L. grandiflorum includes ‘Roseum’ a deep pink, ‘Rubrum’ a brilliant scarlet, and ‘Album’, white with a crimson centre.
- ‘White Diamond’ is 30cm (12in) pure white with yellow sepals.
- L. Perenne is a perennial with paler blue flowers that ore more delicate than L. usitatissum.
Annuals are grown from seed in March and April. Perennials can also be increased byin summer.
Growing from seed
1 Sowin March in damp soil-based seed in seed trays or a . Cover with polythene or propagator cover and place in a warm and light but out of direct sun. Maintain a temperature of about 15°-18°C (60°-65°F).
2should germinate in about 2 weeks. When the have developed their second pair of leaves they can be pricked out into seed trays or .
3 Gradually acclimatize seedlings to cooler outside temperatures, then, when all chance of frost is past, plant out in their final position.
Cuttings should be taken from perennials from the current year’s growth which has become moderately firm and woody near the base but is still green.
1 Choose a side shoot of about 15cm (bin) and cut off close to the main stem. Remove leaves from the lower part and cut again just below the lowestnode. Trim off the top of the shoot just above a so the is about 5-10cm (2-4i n). ,
2 Plant in seed compost, cover with polythene and place as for. When cuttings show growth, remove cover and repot individually a month later.
Pests And Diseases
Flax is rarely affected by any serious disease.
Grey patches appear onand leaves. This is grey mould and can occur if conditions are too wet.
Treatment: Remove and burn any infected parts. Spray with a fungicide of benomyl, thiram or zineb.
can affect almost any cultivated plant. Spring and early summer are the m,,,t likely periods outdoor.. Treatment: Remove t YOU can see and spray the plant with soapy water. Repeat after a week. If the infestation is had use a suitable to combat the pests.
This is an easy plant to grow. It loves sun, will tolerate dry conditions and is not fussy about soil. Remove dead flowers to prolong the flowering period. Water plants grown in pots often as these dry out quickly in hot weather.
- : Perennial Flaxes should be repotted in spring when necessary. Grow in a well draining soil-based compost.
- Water regularly during spring and summer as necessary. Plants grown in containers should be watered thoroughly twice a week and will need more frequently if the weather is very hot.
- Feeding: Feed every 2 weeks with a standard liquid fertilizer.
BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT
- Light: Flax prefers a light and sunny position but will tolerate some shade.
- Temperature: Normal summer temperatures are fine for this plant. Annual Flaxes will die down in autumn and need each year.
- Buy seeds in spring for sowing in March or April. Bedding plants should also be widely available.
- Buy seed that has been packaged for the current season. Choose bedding plants with good bushy growth.
- Annual Flaxes (red, pink and bright blue) will not overwinter. Perennial Linums (Yellow Flax and Common Blue Flax) can last for many years.
Flax is a valuable summer plant that flowers from June to September. It isand comes in brilliant shades of blue, red and pink and yellow.