Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata') has been utilized to the fullest at Hoe and Shovel and several posts have been previously written about my admiration for it. By some standards it is probably over-used. When I first fell in love with it I implemented it mostly as an edging plant for curvaceous borders. Once established I began dividing it and placing it in container plants as vertical interest and sometimes clumping it in groups within a planting bed.
It IS a versatile Florida-Friendly plant with that much-loved upright habit that tends to draw my attention in many plant varieties.
I almost always recommend flax lily to my clients as it is a low maintenance, highly drought tolerant, cold hardy in winter plant that remarkably adapts well to either the sun or shade.
What's NOT to love, right?
Over time I've discovered that it has some attributes that aren't particularly exciting.
The most noticeable being the older, outer leaves on each fan blade eventually die and turn brown. We've all heard about flax lily rust, too. I can live with them showing a little bit of rust but along with the aging leaves the overall plant can eventually become unsightly.
With hundreds (mostly from divisions) of flax lily planted throughout the garden it was time to find a solution.
If you've been wondering what to do to help your flax lily come alive and return to that beautiful vigor you first loved about these great plants follow along for a simple how-to pictorial on cleaning them out.
One by one it was my aim to clean out every 'blade' that displayed any sign of death. It was a scary thought at first. What in the world would be left of each plant? Rather than pulling out just the brown leaves I decided to boldly cut back the entire blade. Each one displaying any sign of age. Plant by plant.
Using a sharp pair of hand pruners remove the entire blade by cutting it at the base. This is a good time to pull back some of the leaves (or mulch) that have piled up around the bottom. No mulch at the base is good for the plant in any instance as it helps air circulation and allows for better drainage to the roots.
While it seemed like a severe move at first to remove so much foliage from each plant (debris from two pruned plants above) I have a good feeling that with Florida's heat and humidity they will return quickly. And be healthier going into the summer.
It was encouraging to see all the new growth/blades revealed once the old ones were thinned out.
And the final results were refreshing ... much thinner and smaller in size but so healthy in appearance. Completing this task actually gave the whole garden a bit of a face lift.
How does your flax lily grow? I see these issues all around town so I'm wondering if gardeners have had the same experience as I have here and what did you do about it???