Phormium Tenax Sundowner (common name New Zealand Flax) is an evergreen RHS AGM winning ornamental grass with swordlike bronze-green foliage and rose-red margins. It’s an excellent clump-forming coastal plant and a low maintenance choice for dry borders or balcony containers.
Phormium Tenax is a New Zealand native that grows on the coast and provides a habitat for native wildlife such as the endangered yellow-eyed penguin. It’s been used for centuries as rope and sail making material because its fibres are tough and hardy. Phormium Tenax Sundowner is a cultivar that’s bred to retain the hardy nature of New Zealand Flax but introduces more ornamental colours that are suitable for gardens.
Phormium Sundowner has tall, erect spikey leaves that resemble swords. Each stiff leaf is bronze-green with an attractive rose-red ‘sunset’ margin hence its name ‘Sundowner’. In summer, yellow flowers on tall wavy stems may appear. New Zealand Flax Sundowner is an excellent coastal perennial that grows well in borders or containers and requires very little attention.
Height and Spread of Phormium Tenax Sundowner Phormium Sundowner will reach a maximum height and spread of 1.5 metres.
How Hardy is Phormium Tenax Sundowner New Zealand Flax Sundowner, is a hardy plant if the roots are well-drained, but it needs full sun and some shelter from freezing winds to thrive. It does best in milder coastal locations.
How To Use Phormium Tenax Sundowner It’s is a good choice for low maintenance wildlife-friendly spaces. The tough, swordlike foliage provides safe cover for mammals and protects soil from erosion, and it works well with other foliage plants such as yuccas.
If you have a coastal or low maintenance garden with a dry, sheltered border Sundowner will suit it perfectly. Sundowner also grows well in sheltered containers on a deck, patio or balcony bringing plenty of no-hassle colour to an entertainment area. Its structural leaves suit Mediterranean gardens and modern urban spaces in particular.
How To Care For Phormium Tenax Sundowner Phormium Sundowner prefers well-drained or dry soil including chalky and sandy spots. It will grow best in full sun, but will also tolerate part shade. Sheltered spots are best in central to northern areas.
It can be susceptible to harsh winter frosts, so give the roots a thick layer of protective mulch in late autumn.
You can leave New Zealand Flax to its own devices or prune out broken or damaged leaves in early spring before its new foliage begins to emerge.
Water well until established and be sure to regularly water and feed any container-grown specimens.