Phormium are evergreen perennials, making a large clump of leathery, strap-shaped leaves, with tall panicles of small, tubular flowers in summer
Phormium 'Maori Maiden' (New Zealand Flax) - New Zealand Flax cultivar that grows to 18 inches to 2 feet tall with slightly arching 1 1/2" wide apricot-pink to rose-red colored leaves with thin green margins. Plant in full sun to light shade - may sun burn in full sun in Southern California. Can tolerate fairly dry conditions (coastal) but looks best with occasional to regular irrigation. Hardy to 15-20 F. Possibly root hardy below these temperatures but with severe foliage damage unless protected. Can have foliage reversions that are bronze colored and grow more erect and taller than the pink foliage - trim off to maintain good color. This cultivar is the flax most prone to sun burn so careful placement in the garden is necessary - avoid sites with reflected heat and plant in light shade or morning sun in southern California. The pinkest of the flax and probably the most beautiful if maintained. We have had this plant in the ground in our gardens and in pots since 1984 and it has rarely bloomed, producing a 4 foot tall upright stalk with red flowers. Phormium 'Maori Maiden' was a selection made by Margaret Jones of Tauranga, NZ in 1981 from seedlings grown from "Rainbow Hybrids" seed. This plant seems to be nearly identical to the cultivar 'Rainbow Warrior' selected by Nevin Smith in the US. This plant was originally introduced as Phormium 'Maori Maiden' but in New Zealand there has been a tendency to replace the word "Maori" with "Rainbow" or leaving the word Maori off completely so this plant is often listed as Phormium 'Rainbow Maiden' or just Phormium 'Maiden'.
The original names by which these plants were described and published should be considered the valid name and the revised names only as synonyms. While this plant is one of the prettiest of the flax when it looks its best, it is slow growing, reverts continuously and sunburns in hot weather so we no longer can recommend this plant as a sustainable plant in the Southern California garden. This description is based on our research and on the observations we have made of this plant as it grows in containers at our nursery, in our own garden and in other gardens. We also will incorporate comments we receive from others and appreciate receiving feedback of any kind from those who have additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Phormium 'Maori Maiden'
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