Flax lily, Dianella tasmanica, is a spreading perennial with flat, glossy green leaves. This grass-like foliage plant is often used as a groundcover, border plant, or even as an accent plant, to bring color and texture into the landscape. This fast-growing plant also works well in containers. Drought-tolerant flax lily requires little care in the landscape once it is established, making it ideal for the busy gardener.
Flax lily grows in clumps, and reaches a mature height and spread of between 1 and 3 feet. A variegated variety, Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata', is quite popular due to its white stripes, which provide additional visual interest to the landscape.
Despite its common name, flax lily is used primarily as a foliage plant, and doesn't have showy blossoms. Very small, light-blue flowers with prominent yellow stamens are produced from winter through spring. Flowers are occasionally followed by bright blue berries about the size of an olive.
Planting and Care
This plant does well in well-drained soil located in areas with either sun or part shade, making it ideal for areas with shifting levels of sunshine.
While flax lily can be killed back by frost, if your plant is well-established it will likely grow back from the roots once temperatures begin to warm back up. If you notice your established flax lilies have lots of dead leaves, or variegated leaves that have reverted to an all-green form, you can cut them down to the crown in late winter.
Divide flax lily in spring to provide more plants for your garden or to pass along to friends.
Flax lily is a great foliage plant for many Florida landscapes. For more information on growing flax lily in your garden, contact your local county Extension office.
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Note: A related plant, the cerulean flax lily (Dianella ensifolia) is considered invasive and is not recommended for use by the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas.