August 12, 2011

"Super Seeded" Blue Flax

Blue flowers for spring, pretty foliage through summer, repeat bloom in fall—easy to achieve by sowing the seeds of perennial blue flax. This self-sowing perennial is wonderful for dry, sunny gardens. A deer, rabbit and drought tolerant perennial that can be mixed with other perennials as well as annuals.

It is time to order seeds for fall sowing!

Flax is a perfect partner for the blooms of annual poppies, larkspur and cornflowers from April until June in my zone 7b garden. I sow seeds anytime between September through November for spring bloom. I have allowed some of the plants to self-sow and gathered seeds to plant in specific spots in the garden. In 2010, I planted some seeds in summer instead of waiting to the sow the seeds in fall. The foliage sprouted and was evergreen through winter, then bloomed the first time this spring.

If you try to collect seeds, it is a tedious task. Wait until the pods are brown and dry, then you must carefully pull the flat seeds out of the pod. I took the time for the task last year, but now I'm doing the "chop and drop" with the foliage and letting the seeds sow without my help.

Perennial blue flax blooms
with annual California poppy in April 2011.
Seeds for both were planted in autumn in zone 7b.
To keep the foliage looking good through the summer, I cut the flax back by one third. Today, many of my flax plants that bloomed beautifully in spring are beginning to bloom again.

Throughout our days of 100° F and with no supplemental watering, all of my flax plants have survived and thrived. They never look wilted. This is truly a "hell strip" plant for xeric gardens.

Perennials on parade in May 2011:
Salvia 'May Night' (back)
Linum perenne flax (middle)
Agastache 'Cotton Candy' (front)

I grow two varieties of blue flax and have mixed the two so much that I no longer pay attention to the minor differences. Linum narbonense 'Heavenly Blue' (zones 5-9) and linum perenne are both great performers, with the latter growing a bit taller and suitable for zones 4-9.

Flowers open in the morning and drop by noon during the bloom season. You'll have to take a morning garden walk with your camera to capture the beauties in bloom. I recommend sowing the seeds thickly and close together for a mass planting that is sure to please!

Blue flax with another salvia variety.

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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