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New Zealand Flax falling at sides

I have 4 New Zealand flax plants in my front garden. All of them seem to be falling over at the sides and I have no idea why. Other flax plants I've seen seem to have one large clump of leaves that spread out evenly around the sides. Mine seem to be very clumpy and spread all over each other (please see images below).

Does anyone have any idea why and what I can do to fix this? I'm tempted to cut them right back and dig up some of theclumps that are falling but don't want to damage the plant.

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Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,019

    They're needing split Chris. Each of those 'clumps' is prime to be a separate plant. If you can dig them up, and cut through them where the obvious split is, you'll have a lot of viable parts to replant. If it's difficult to get in and dig up the whole thing, you can chop into them with a spade and separate that way.

    Alternatively, keep the best section(s) and chuck or give away the rest. If you leave them, they'll tend to lack vigour, and lose their variegation. You won't do any damage by leaving them as they are, but they won't be at their best.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Thanks for the advice. If I split them though, how many clumps should I leave? It's going to make the plants very small and they'll loose their girth completely - is that to be expected?

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,019

    You would just leave the best looking clump. It'll grow quite quickly again.

    The middle gradually dies back leaving those separate sections - it's the nature of the plant's habit - but they lose their vigour if just left to their own devices.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Ok so I cut a couple of clumps off. The weird this is they don't go below ground so they don't really have much of a root network. Is that normal? The pics below show the offshoots I've cut off. If I plant these will they grow? It doesn't look like they will to me.

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  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,436

    Where there's little root, I would trim off the leaves to a few inches and plant them out. A bit like bearded irises. Ideally pull them apart rather than cut them, you may be able to hold onto more roots that way. Lift up the whole clump and shake off the soil so you can see what you're doing. 

    Last edited: 18 September 2017 09:55:17

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,019

    I'm wondering if you've chopped into them a little too near the surface Chris - leaving you with less root than is ideal. You need to cut vertically downwards. 

    Pot them up though - as Will describes. Even a little root will take well enough in most cases. Tuck them somewhere sheltered, so that they have decent protection from rough weather and  won't then come 'unstuck'. You can also put a few twigs or similar into the pots with a bit of string tied round, to give them support while they get established. I've done that before with ones that I haven't cut the foliage back on. Works well. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Fairygirl says:

    I'm wondering if you've chopped into them a little too near the surface Chris - leaving you with less root than is ideal. You need to cut vertically downwards. 

    See original post

    Well, the thing is they are fully above the surface. They are kind of shooting out from the base and most of the roots seem to be above ground. It's more like cutting the branch from a tree. I'll pot them up anyway and see how they get on.

    I might dig the whole thing up and try to split it from there. That way I can reposition it in the middle anyway (as you said Fairygirl, the middle has died down and it looks odd now).

    Thanks for both your advice on this!

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