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New Zealand Flax and Cold Temperatures
Ask the Expert: re/New Zealand flax,, vs. unusual temp. freeze
I have 3 New Zealand Flax, 2 varigated, 1 green, all about 5 ft. tall, in the ground for 3 years.Â We had an unusual freeze, and snow on the ground for 3-4 days.Â Unfortunately I was gone for a holiday and so the snow lay on the plants.Â I returned to find nearly all the leaves down, and the color very bad.Â Not brown (yet) but not healthy color.Â I do not know if they are dead, or if they will come back, do not know if I should trim away all the downed leaves or leave them alone as they would offer perhaps some protection if more snow (possible, according to the weather.Â The temperature could have gone as low as 25.
Thank you for your help!! Michele
Plant Expert Reply:
From what I know about New Zealand Flax (Phormium sp), temperatures below 20 degrees will scaled or damage the leaves.Â However this plant should withstand temperature as low as 20 degrees and recover the following spring.Â To help the plant survive cold weather, mulch the ground around the plants.Â If you are worried about the leaves during periods where the wind chill factor is below 20 degrees, drape the plants with some type of cotton material for protection.