- Position: full sun
- Soil: fertile, well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: August to September
- Hardiness: frost hardy (may need winter protection)
With their arching, strappy, sword-shaped leaves, Phormiums make a dramatic statement in the garden. Originating from New Zealand, where their fibre has traditionally been used in the same way as hemp or sisal, they are versatile evergreen plants that tolerate a range of conditions and look at home in a variety of different planting schemes. They have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more colourful varieties being introduced. Platt's Black is a wonderful recent introduction with sword-like, deep purple-black leaves. It makes a stunning centrepiece in a container, or an architectural specimen plant in the border, providing a fabulous contrast for silvers, pinks, blues and whites. In hot summers, a spike of tubular, red flowers will shoot up from the centre, followed by study seed-heads.
- Garden care: In late spring, remove any dead or damaged leaves and apply a mulch of well-rotted organic matter to stimulate vigorous, new growth.