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How to Grow Linum Plants

Guide to Growing Flax

The linum genus has many members and are therefore grown as hardy annuals, half hardy perennials and hardy perennials in the garden.

They range dramatically in size from 5 cm to 1.2 m, making them ideal for rock gardens or borders depending upon the species.

They have deep green foliage with tiny leaves and carry cup or funnel shaped flowers of white, blue, red or yellow.

Oil flax picture

Flowering time occurs from spring through to autumn depending upon the species. Common names for Linum include Flax, Linseed, and Oil Flax .

Linum usitatissimum
Linum usitatissimum – Common Flax / Linseed by Eran Finkle; creative commons.

Flax Flower
Linum usitatissimum – Flax Flower by OliBac.



Quick Linum Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Flax: Common; Red; Oil; Fairy; Golden; Pale; Scarlet; Prairie, Perennial, Plains. Linseed
Life Cycle: Hardy annual. Hardy perennial, half hardy perennial.
Height: 4 to 48 inches (10 to 120 cm).
Native: Mediterranean, Europe, Asia, Americas.
Growing Region: Annuals: zones 2 to 10. Perennials: zones 8 to 10.
Flowers: Annuals: summer. Perennials: spring, summer or/and autumn.
Flower Details: Blue, yellow, red, white, pink. Cup-shaped. Funnels.
Foliage: Blueish-grey or green. Lanceolate. Five petals.
Sow Outside: 1/8 inch. Sow out every three weeks from the start of spring to summer; and in autumn in warmer areas.
Sow Inside: Use peat pots. Germination time: three to four weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Seven or eight weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight. Good drainage. Soil pH 5 to 7. Average soil. To prolong flowering season thin florescences. Perennials should be cut back to ground level in the autumn. Propagate: by dividing perennials in spring in cooler areas, or in autumn in warmer areas.

How to Grow Flax and other Linum Plants in the Garden

When growing Flax from seeds outdoors the seeds should be sown at a depth of 3 mm. It is best to sow out flaxseed every couple of weeks from just before the last frost of spring until the end of summer; this will allow continuous blooming of the Linum plants. Flax likes to grow in a sunny part of the garden that has good drainage and a slightly acidic to neutral ordinary soil of pH 5 to 7). They should be spaced from 10 cm (small Linum species) to 45 cm (larger varieties) apart.

If starting to grow Flax, Linseed, and other Linum Plants indoors, then grow the seeds in peat pots about 7 weeks before they are due to be put out. It will take about three to four weeks fro them to germinate at 18 to 20 degrees C.

Caring for Flax (Linum plants)

Flax is very easy to look after. If you cut back half of the stalks early on then you will get a prolonged bloom. The Perennial Linum species should be cut back to ground level in the autumn. More perennial linum plants can be propagated by division in the spring.


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