Linum Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Linum plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Flax, and Linseed: Cultivation & Garden Use

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 (2 inches to 4 feet), making them ideal for anything from rock gardens through to 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.

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-gray 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 extend the blooming period, thin out the blossoms.. 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 (1/8 inch).

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. Use a slightly acidic to neutral ordinary soil of pH 5 to 7).

They should be spaced from 10 cm (4 inches; small Linum species) to 45 cm (18 inches; 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°C (64 to 68°F).

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.

Common Questions

How many members does the Linum genus have?

The Linum genus, commonly known as Flax, contains about 200 species. Flax is known for its slender stems and vibrant flowers.

Do members of Linum make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Linum can make beautiful garden plants. They are great for borders, rock gardens, and they also attract butterflies.

Which Linum species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most commonly grown species are Linum usitatissimum (Common Flax) and Linum perenne (Perennial Flax).

Are members of the Linum plant genus fragrant?

Linum plants are not known for their fragrance, but their delicate flowers are visually striking.

What is the perfect location to grow Linum?

Linum prefers a sunny spot with well-drained soil. It's also drought-tolerant, making it a good choice for dry or rocky gardens.

Is Linum invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

At present, no species of Linum are considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Linum plants from my garden?

To remove Linum, pull up the entire plant, ensuring to get all the roots. Regular monitoring will be necessary as they can self-seed.


The Linum genus, part of the Linaceae family, includes annual and perennial plants native to temperate and subtropical regions of the world. Recognized for their small, five-petaled flowers, these plants are often used in borders and meadows and are commonly known as flax.

Linum enjoys full sun and well-drained soil. It is drought-tolerant once established. Propagation is typically done through seeds, generally sown in the spring or fall.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Linum plants. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Celeriac, Patrinia plant, and Townsendia plants.