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 Weather Station

Products > Phormium 'Maori Chief'
Phormium 'Maori Chief' - New Zealand Flax

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Phormiaceae (~Xanthorrhoeaceae)
Origin: New Zealand (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Insignificant
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [P. 'Rainbow Chief', P. 'Chief']
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Phormium 'Maori Chief' (New Zealand Flax) - New Zealand Flax cultivar that grows to 5-6 feet tall with 2 1/2" wide green centered, rose-red margined leaves which arch at the tips. Blooms reliably every year with upright spikes of orange-red flowers. 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. A beautiful medium sized red flax that has remained one of our favorites since it was introduced in the U.S. 1985. We have plants in the ground at the nursery that are 20 years old and still have beautiful foliage and are not over sized for the plantings. Phormium 'Maori Chief' was a selection made by Margaret Jones of Tauranga, NZ in 1981 from seedlings grown from "Rainbow Hybrids" seed (A result of crossing Phormium 'Maori Maiden' with P. tenax 'Atropurpureum'). This plant was originally introduced as Phormium 'Maori Chief' 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 Chief' or just Phormium 'Chief'. The original names by which these plants were described and published should be considered the valid name and the revised names only as synonyms.  The information on this page is based on the research that we have conducted about this plant in the San Marcos Growers library, from what we have found on reliable online sources, as well as from observations made of our crops of this plant growing in the nursery and of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens where we may have observed it. We also have incorporated comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from those who may have additional information, particularly if this information includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Phormium 'Maori Chief'.