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Phormium: varieties and cultivation

Phormium: varieties and cultivation


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The Phormium comes from far away, from New Zeland, and belongs to a very dense taxonomic grouping of plants, from the name Asphodeloideae.

In Italy, even if it is not very easy to find, it is highly appreciated for several reasons. Its multi-colored foliage makes it a plant that is always fascinating and not only in the moment of flowering, for example, and for this reason we find it often used in parks and gardens because it is able to give a little color to green spaces.

Phormium: characteristics

With the name of Phormium we are going to indicate a category of plants and not just one. It is a genus that includes all perennial plants, sufruticose / herbaceous which in their country of origin grow spontaneously and are widespread almost everywhere, both in the sea and in the hills, near rivers and even in marshy soils.

It is found in clumps of long, green leaves, but multicolored, which can even reach three meters in height. The Maori didn't think twice about using them to build handicrafts or to make ropes and fabrics. In Italy it is not used for these purposes but can be present in gardens, especially in those of medium-large size as it is considered a bulky plant, some cultivars with red or variegated leaves that have reached a more limited size are more manageable.

Phormium: variety

There are really numerous varieties of Phormium, moreover in recent years in New Zealand about twenty new cultivars have been launched which have been very successful but not all of them have already arrived in Italy and for now we can only see them in photos. Almost all of them derive from Phormium tenax or Phormium cookianum or from intersections between the two.

Phormium tenax variegatum

Phormium tenax purpureum

Phorium cultivation

To cultivate this plant successfully it is best to reserve a soft soil rich in organic substances, making sure that it is composed of some sandy and peaty elements or in any case materials that ensure good drainage and poor compactness to avoid water stagnation. If we are growing it in pots, then we must be very careful to repot it at the right time as soon as the warm season arrives and then with a rate of repotting every two years.

This step is essential if you don't want to limit the growth of the plant by suffocating its own root system. However, if we have it in the garden, we don't even have to worry about pruning it because it is not needed, if not every now and then but only to eliminate those leaves that have been damaged or that have yellowed over time.

Phorium watering

In winter and in general in the cold months it is not necessary to wet this plant too much, only when the land around it is really very dry. With more vigor we can water it in the summer but being very careful not to cause water stagnation which is very harmful for the Phormium as with many other plants. It is also very important to pay attention to fertilization, which must be done with good consistency so as to never miss nutrients from this shrub which otherwise would grow weak and with not very vigorous leaves.

Again, fertilization must be increased in vegetative period, at least twice a week, while in the autumn and winter period it must be slowed down considerably but without ever interrupting it. In the cold period we can also use gods solid fertilizers which have a slow and progressive release. If we prefer liquid ones, we must be careful to dilute them with the water used for spraying. When we choose the fertilizer we must look for the specific one for ornamental plants, making sure that it contains microelements but also potassium and nitrogen elements.

Phormium in pot

As we have mentioned, we can grow Phormium both in the garden and in pots. In a fairly large container it can be excellent ornamental plant to be placed at home or in offices. Furnishes. Outside, we find it in the borders, to fill a corner, or to delimit a lawn, or to create permanent spots of color.

In pots, on the terraces, they give excellent results and give a little color even in the coldest seasons with elegantly striped and variegated leaves that are unpredictably decorative.

Phormium flowers

In summer, this already spectacular plant by itself also gives us gods tubular flowers carried by spikes without leaves. It blooms best if we keep it in a position with full sun or in light shade, guaranteeing a fresh and fertile and well-drained soil. However, it is a plant that can easily adapt to the conditions in which it is grown and has shown excellent resistance to both brackish and polluted air.

Phormium: diseases and parasites

There are not many diseases that can endanger our health Phormium, among the worst enemies there are the scale insects that can create problems and it is better to take a look even if there are no snails around. It is important to have Organic products or a specific insecticide to hunt them. For example, this double potassium soft soap, ready-to-use spray, 100% organic biodegradable insecticide against cochineal but also aphids and mites. Another danger exists from molds and rot and from all those fungal diseases such as rust.

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Video: Toms Tips #6. Phormium. Greenwood Plants (July 2022).


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